Construction dominates the tourism scene
in the Dominican Republic these days. Cranes can be seen and
jackhammers heard from Puerto Plata in the north to Barahona and
Punta Cana on the south coast.
We are attracting
a lot of high-end investors, said Luis Simo, deputy minister of
tourism. In fact, tourism is the leader in foreign investments and
represents 40% of our countrys economy right now.
investment grew 43.8% from January through June this year, compared
with the first six months of 2004, increasing from $341.1 million
to $490.8 million, Simo said.
infrastructure front, a new international airport will open in
Samana, on the east coast, in early 2007.
Republic government will invest more than $600 million over the
next three years in its road network.
improvements to the Coral Highway to reduce travel time between
Santo Domingo and Punta Cana from four to two hours and
construction of a highway between Samana province and Santo
Domingo, reducing that drive from four to two hours.
also plans to build a new aqueduct in the Punta Cana area to
increase water capacity to residences and resorts.
growth in investment is an increase in visitor arrivals, which
jumped 8.3% to 2.2 million from January through August over the
same period a year earlier.
Simo said that
only Cuba had a higher growth rate in the Caribbean
of growth is the increase in tour operations. Apple Vacations, one
of the largest operators to the Dominican Republic, increased its
volume by more than 15% in 2005, according to Simo.
The U.S. and
several European countries -- including Spain, Germany, France,
Italy and the Scandinavian nations -- remain the destinations
largest markets and are still growing.
For example, Simo
reported that approximately 500,000 French tourists visited in
2005, a 7% annual increase.
are also some newcomers eyeing Dominican sun and sand.
markets that emerged this year and promise to show strength in 2006
and beyond included Russia, which sent 20,000 tourists on 39
charter flights this year from Moscow.
In addition, two
charter flights arrived from the Czech Republic last winter, as did
several from Brazil, where a new Dominican Republic tourism
promotion office has opened in Sao Paulo.
Up in the
and capacity also are on the rise.
Airlines added two weekly flights from Houston to Punta Cana,
supplementing existing service out of Newark, and Spirit Airlines
began nonstop daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Punta Cana on
was expected to surpass the million-passenger mark this year on
flights to the Dominican Republic, a destination it has served for
30 years. The carrier currently operates 30 daily flights to five
gateways in the destination.
As part of its
thrust toward greater visibility in the U.S. market, the Dominican
Republic will pump $16 million into a promotional campaign focused
on high-end niche markets, such as golf and scuba as well as the
innate cultural and ethnic diversity of the destination, Simo
Our goal is to
show the diversity of the destination in areas such as black
heritage, art and religion, he said. We are a country of many
information on travel to the Dominican Republic, visit the
ministryof tourism Web site at www.godominicanrepublic.com. Or, contact the tourism
boards U.S. offices in New York at (212) 588-1012 or (888)
374-6361; in Miami, at (305) 444-4592 or (888) 358-9594; in
Chicago, at (773) 529-1336 or (888) 303-1336; in Houston, at (281)
875-3888 or (866) 752-5200; in Laguna Niguel, Calif., at (949)
363-8520; or in San Juan at (787) 722-0881.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].