LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic -- The Dominican Republic continues
to welcome more U.S. visitors every year, but there is room for
more growth, according to Ramon Alfredo Bordas, secretary of
tourism for the Dominican Republic.
Speaking at the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE), Bordas
announced the tourism board's commitment to invest $2.4 million
toward the development and implementation of co-marketing programs
with North American-based tour operators, airlines and cruise
"We'd like to have a larger portion of the U.S. market," Bordas
said at the conference, which was held in Casa de Campo.
Most vacationers to this Caribbean nation come from Europe.
Bordas noted that there was a 26% increase in visitors from the
U.S. in the last four months of 2000.
Overall tourist arrivals increased by about 12.4%, from 2.6
million in 1999 to 3 million in 2000, according to government
But 65% of the visitors were from Europe, and Bordas highlighted
additional steps the government is taking to increase the
percentage of U.S. arrivals.
Recent efforts have resulted in increased air and cruise
capacity for the country.
Bordas reported that this year there are 113,000 additional
airline seats available into the Dominican Republic from the
The country also expects an increase in cruise arrivals, up from
138,000 passengers who visited the country in 2000 to an
anticipated 340,000 arrivals this year.
As part of the new marketing plan, the country's seven North
American tourism offices have been converted from consumer
information centers into sales offices.
The offices -- in Chicago, Houston, Miami, Montreal, New York,
San Juan and Toronto -- will work with the tourism board's industry
partners to develop promotional brochures, print and radio
advertising, special events and fam trips geared toward increasing
tourism to the country.
Travel agent education, including fam trips, is a priority,
The DATE conference itself, which was held for the first time
last year, is also a symbol of tourism growth.
In 2001, the conference attracted 75 suppliers vs. 60 the first
The conference also highlighted other tourism figures, such as
hotel room numbers.
Room supply increased more than 5% in 2000 and now totals 52,000
Punta Cana, with more than 18,000 hotel rooms, is the most
popular tourist destination in the nation; in 2000, it received 35%
of all incoming tourists.
According to statistics from the Punta Cana Resort and Club,
888,852 tourists arrived in 2000 at Punta Cana Airport, which is
run by the owners of the hotel.
This was an increase of more than 35% over 1999 arrivals.
For more information, call the Dominican Republic's department
of tourism at (800) 723-6138 or visit www.dominicana.com.do.