Airports across the Dominican Republic are implementing special arrival and departure protocols to handle record numbers of tourist arrivals as the country heads into the busy winter travel season. Whilst there are several large airports around the country, Punta Cana International Airport welcomes nearly 70% of all foreign arrivals, with the capital’s Las Américas International Airport in second place.
Authorities have put several measures in place around the country’s main airports to ensure a consistent flow of departing and arriving passengers. More than a million travelers are expected to transit through the Dominican Republic during the busy holiday period, prompting officials to bolster airport logistics and preparedness.
According to Víctor Pichardo, head of the government’s Airport Department, the goal of the new high-season airport protocol is to maintain orderliness and ensure high passenger satisfaction despite record travel numbers. “Each year, we apply the protocol to handle passenger movement in the high season, and arrival numbers skyrocket, especially in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, and Santiago,” the director said in a statement.
Officials say that airport planning committees will distribute flights between different terminals in an effort to minimize long queues and congestion. Moreover, more resources are being funneled into security measures and anti-drug detection. As for departing flights, airport officials will be manning more check-in desks and implementing several hygienic measures to guarantee high standards of cleanliness and passenger comfort.
Airports across the country can soon expect staff numbers to increase and more technical support added to ensure smooth travel for the millions of travelers that visit the country. With up to several hundred departures and arrivals per day, airport logistics can be a nightmare, but authorities hope that won’t be the case this year thanks to good planning and additional resources.
The Dominican Republic enjoys an excellent network of flights from North America, Europe, and South America, with connections to over 200 destinations around the world. Currently, more than 100 airlines operate to and from the country, a number which is set to grow as new airlines launch flights to the tropical island.
November, and especially December and January, are looking to become some of the busiest months for tourism on record. With high expectations, authorities are keen on airports running smoothly. Earlier this year, several airlines, including JetBlue – the largest U.S. airline operating in the Dominican Republic – experienced significant delays and cancellations, especially at Las Américas International Airport.
Meanwhile, Punta Cana International Airport, the country’s largest and most significant air transportation hub, is especially keen on optimizing the high number of expected arrivals and departures. The airport was recently ranked the best medium-sized airport in the Caribbean and is currently finalizing a massive renovation to add more floor space and jet bridges.
The Dominican Republic set another monthly record for international travel in October when over 400,000 foreign tourists set foot in the country. Despite the month falling in the low season, travel numbers grew by over 30% compared to 2019, as travel demand for sunny tropical destinations skyrockets.
A new open skies treaty is in the making between the Dominican Republic and the United States, a move that could drastically lower airfare and increase the availability of flights. The new deal is expected to be published sometime this year or early next year.
Although the U.S. remains by far the most important market for inbound tourism, authorities expect Canadian travel figures to grow significantly over the coming months. Several Canadian airlines, including Air Transat and Sunwing Airlines, have expanded their flight network to the Dominican Republic, and the two countries have signed new cooperation agreements to bolster tourism.
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