NEW YORK -- The increase in hotel rooms, resort expansions, golf
course development and air charter activity represents "purposeful
investment" in and by the Dominican Republic, according to Felix
Jimenez, secretary of tourism.
Jimenez visited New York recently when the tourist office moved
to a new and larger location on Manhattan's east side. (There are
also offices in Chicago and Miami.) The director of the New York
office is Sarah Despradel.
Jimenez cited the importance that tourism plays in the overall
economy of the Dominican Republic by ranking the industry "right up
there with sugar, rum and merengue."
By the end of the year, the country will offer approximately
42,000 hotel rooms, the largest number of rooms in a Caribbean
destination. A $12 million investment has been earmarked by
government and the private sector "to increase worldwide awareness
of the Dominican Republic, the second-largest country in the
Caribbean," Jimenez said. Hand in hand with the investment and
ongoing promotional campaign go special events, such as the 500th
anniversary celebrations in Santo Domingo this summer.
"Tourism revenues rose from $17 million in 1970 to $2.2 billion
last year," Jimenez said. "Tourism employs more than 200,000 people
in the Dominican Republic."
Increased focus is being placed on the U.S. market, which
tourism officials hope will become a key income producer for the
destination. A $5 million promotional campaign in the U.S. includes
television, trade and consumer advertising, increased visibility at
trade shows and implementation of agent-oriented workshops and
seminars, according to Jimenez.
Sales tools available to agents and operators include a new
toll-free information number and the Dominican Republic's Vacation
Planner comprehensive guide.
Dominican Republic Tourism Office, Location: 136 E. 57th St.,
Suite 803, New York 10022, Phone: (800) 723-6138 or (212) 588-1012,
Fax: (212) 588-1015
E-mail: [email protected], Web: www.codetel.net.do