SANTO DOMINGO — Industry leaders at the 2019 Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) conference shared strong tourism numbers indicating the country continues to be the premier Caribbean travel destination.
Paola Rainieri de Díaz, President of the Dominican Republic Association for Hotels and Tourism (ASONAHORES), shared announcements promoting the country’s robust and flourishing tourism industry in each sector of the country while sharing excitement for new and ongoing initiatives to attract more visitors to Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic announced a 6.2 percent increase in 2018 for overall tourism to the country, welcoming a total of 6.5 million tourists. This growth exceeds the world average growth of 6 percent and solidifies Dominican Republic as the top destination in the Caribbean, representing 20 percent of all travel to the area in 2018.
According to Francisco Javier García, The Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, this growth is in large part to the maturity and authenticity of the country as a tourist destination.
In the first two months of 2019, Dominican Republic welcomed 604,977 tourists, an increase of eight percent compared to this time last year. In that timeframe, 65 percent of those tourist arrivals came from North America, specifically the United States which continues to be a key market for Dominican Republic.
In 2018, Dominican Republic saw a six percent growth in hotel rooms. The country added 4,365 total hotel rooms throughout various regions of the country totaling 80,256 overall hotel rooms. In addition to the flourishing additions, Dominican Republic’s hotel occupancy rate was an impressive 77 percent, a .5 percent increase from 2017.
The growth does not end there. ASONAHORES reported 65 projects are already approved for 2019 and Dominican Republic is slated to add 11 new properties between 2019 and 2022.
Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) continues to be the main point of entry into Dominican Republic with a record breaking 3,921,351 tourists received in 2018, an increase of more than 277,000 travelers compared to 2017. This growth is followed by Santo Domingo’s Las Americas Airport (SDQ) with 1,374,777; Santiago’s Cibao International Airport (STI) with 628,170 and Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) following closely with 429,029.
This growth is due in large part to Dominican Republic’s open-sky policy, allowing for a large influx of flights as well as new nonstop routes to and from the United States.
Throughout 2018 Dominican Republic welcomed a total of 1,357,200 passengers via its four cruise ports, an increase of more than 157,000 compared to 2017. The Amber Cove cruise port in Puerto Plata continues to be the country’s main point of entry for cruise arrivals.
Diversification of Offerings
Statistics show tourists are craving diversified experiences that span beyond beaches and showcase that multi-destination cultural travel is becoming more popular than in years past. Díaz detailed the diversity of travelers are evolving; in 2018, 80 percent of all tourist visits were to protected areas throughout Dominican Republic, proving that visitors are increasingly looking to explore beyond their hotel.
As part of MITUR’s commitment to supporting multi-destination travel and diversifying its segmentation, more than 8,000 kilometers of roads were created, renovated or expanded within the past four years. Now, all major tourist areas are connected and accessible within a 2-hour drive. Dominican Republic’s rich history, diverse natural beauty and vibrant culture truly make it a destination unlike any other in the Caribbean or in the world. The country caters to many interests and needs offering a diverse topography, world-class golf courses, adventure travel, romance, luxury, culture, gastronomy and more.
Although Dominican Republic’s 1,000 miles of impeccable beaches remain the country’s most sought after attractions, Dominican Republic is set to maintain the work of expanding its competitive offerings in the tourism marketplace. Whether you’re seeking history in Santo Domingo, charm in Puerto Plata, unparalleled nature in Samaná, an adrenaline rush in Jarabacoa or luxury in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is sure to deliver a wide range of one-of-a-kind experiences for all travelers and budgets alike.
DATE 2019 welcomed a record 750 delegates, 120 tourism businesses, 40 sponsors and 40 journalists. This year’s DATE conference was held March 27th at BlueMall PuntaCana.
To learn more, visit www.GoDominicanRepublic.com