PUNTA CANA, D.R. — Delta Vacations said there has been "tremendous growth" in bookings from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic in the past few years, MLT Vacations product manager Steven Bradley said at the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE).

"The growth mirrors Delta's 30% overall increase in service to the destination's gateways of Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, La Romana and Samana due to recently added flights from Atlanta, JFK, Minneapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati," Bradley said.

Much of Delta Vacations' growth in Punta Cana came from Delta's two main domestic gateways in New York and Atlanta. Between 2011 and 2013, bookings to Punta Cana from JFK and Atlanta grew in the triple digits, according to Bradley.

Increases were particularly high in specialty vacations, such as destination weddings and honeymoons, which recorded quadruple and five-fold increases, respectively, from 2011 to 2013.

Business at adults-only vacation properties doubled in the same time period.

In his speech to delegates attending DATE, Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia forecast an 8% visitor increase to the Dominican Republic this year.

Visitation jumped 5.2% in 2013 to 4.7 million, of whom 1.6 million were from the U.S. (an increase of 9%). 

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Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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