Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tourism numbers up, also in the north

Cabarete touristsDespite a huge drop in visitors from Russia and the opening up of neighboring island Cuba to Americans, the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic has been doing really good so far this year. With already 3.8 million visitors so far between January and August 2015 ,the country is well on its way to reaching the 6 million tourist mark set for 2015. Reports on what the average visitor spends have also been very positive, with the tourism industry reporting a revenue of over three billion USD for the first half of 2015. And luckily they are not all going just to Punta Cana.

South East versus North East investments
Having invested heavily for the past decades in Punta Cana, the Dominican government has started to diversify its policy these last two years. The Colonial Centre of Santo Domingo has been given a make-over with new streets and a new expressway between Punta Cana and Santo Domingo has just been finished, which has cut the drive time between the regions from four to just under two hours, making it easy for tourists staying in Punta Cana to visit the historic capital for a day or two. Next month another ambitious project will kick off, with the construction of a cable car transport system in Santo Domingo, which will not only act as a tourist attraction, but more importantly will also benefit hundreds of thousands local commuters, while at the same time reducing congestion.

Also the North East, long forgotten by the government, has seen some share of government investment since Carnival cruises started investing in Amber Cove, its new port close to Puerto Plata which is set to open on 7 October. The road between Amber Cove and Puerto Plata is being widened, and is foreseen to be finished belatedly by the end of the year. Also parts of Puerto Plata are getting a facelift, including the point where fort San Felipe stands, which dates back from 1564 and was built to protect the then Spanish city against pirates and other marauders. Next to the fort an amphitheater and touristic walkway have been constructed, neither of which has yet been officially opened, with launch dates being postponed every month.
As part of the expected increase in cruise tourists from Amber Cove, who can also book shore excursions to Cabarete, local businesses have come together and are set to build a lifeguard tower on Cabarete beach which is to be manned between 7am and 7pm daily.
Flight arrivals and new flight possibilities
According to numbers published by the Dominican Central Bank, most people coming to the Dominican Republic hailed from the United States of America, closely followed by Canadians and Europeans. More than 66% of all visitors landed in Punta Cana, and only 8% in Puerta Plata. As flights to Puerta Plata are being increased significantly, this number is likely to change next year. The number of visitors from Latin America have also increased seriously over the last year.

Also the Dominican Republic itself, which hasn’t had a national airline for years, is likely to start offering flights soon as well, with Dominican Air highlighting that they may start flying internationally by the end of October.


Booming golf tourism & nascent health tourism
According to TARGET Consultores de Mercadeo, 40% more golf aficionados traveled to the Dominican Republic to make use of the many golf courses in the country. With 26 golf courses dotted around the country to choose from, many of which are located right by the sea, the Dominican Republic is often described as the best golf destination in the Caribbean.


Also health tourism is starting to flourish with an international certification recently issued by the World Medical Tourism Association to Santo Domingo’s “Plaza de la Salud” General Hospital. The Dominican Association of Medical Tourism (ADTS) has already integrated the country as the first Caribbean country in the Latin American Network of Health Tourism and will participate together with representatives of certain hospitals in the World Congress of Medical Tourism, which will take place in Florida at the end of this month.


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