The Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) 2023, the most significant tourism fair for Punta Cana, was recently celebrated. The event is promoted by the Hotel and Tourism Association of the Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES) to showcase this attractive Caribbean island destination.
David Collado, the Dominican Republic’s tourism minister, announced that the country’s tourism industry is thriving, with 2.8 million tourists visiting between January and March. This boom contributes significantly to the country’s economy, accounting for 25% of its GDP, according to the Dominican Central Bank.
In his speech to prominent representatives of the hospitality industry, travel agencies, tour operators and tourism service providers, Tourism Minister David Collado said that the Dominican Republic has established itself as a world leader in the sector. In 2022, more than 8.5 million tourists visited the country, of which 7.1 million arrived by air, he said.
“Never before in history has our country surpassed 6.5 million tourists by air. The dream of the Dominican Republic is to reach 10 million tourists, and it will be a reality because we are planning to reach 9.8 million,” he said.
He mentioned that in terms of sustainable tourism, the Dominican Republic is taking steps to become a more environmentally friendly destination by gradually eliminating the use of plastic in hotels. Another important strategy of the country is to reduce the price of airline tickets by signing an Open Skies Treaty with the United States.
“We already had meetings with the State Department, and we hope that a delegation from the United States will come to the Dominican Republic to finalize this issue. The United States is our top tourist-sending nation.”
“We are also evaluating the reduction of the tax on airplane fuel and the fuel price. This will be effective over the next month because of the European market, which is very important in summer tourism, and we need to see how we lower costs for airlines for long-haul flights,” Collado said.
He also shared that the Dominican Republic is at the forefront of meetings to address the problem of sargassum that plagues the beaches of the Caribbean. To this end, they have invested $6 million, of which $1 million has been allocated for research at various universities. He also explained that the Inter-American Development Bank has pledged $90 million for the restoration of the Colonial City (Santo Domingo), which includes churches, neighborhoods, streets and other symbolic places of the culture of the Dominican Republic.
“This transformation includes art, fashion, and gastronomy. We will leave the Colonial City as a polished jewel because it is a treasure and heritage of humanity,” said the Minister.