There appears to be no end in sight to the record-breaking numbers of foreign tourists heading to the Dominican Republic. The country, which broke its record for the highest number of international travelers in April, once again reached a new milestone in May, when 561,323 tourists crossed the border to the Dominican Republic. The sunny island is a popular choice for travelers thanks to its world-class all-inclusive resorts as well as an abundance of Caribbean beaches.
The tourism industry in the Dominican Republic continues to make a strong comeback following the pandemic-related shutdown in international travel. In the first five months of the year, nearly three million visitors made their way to the country. May is the latest month to shatter the record, and the trend is set to continue during the summer season.
According to the Minister for Tourism, David Collado, “the number means that we have registered an 11%-growth compared to May 2018, 6% more than in 2019, and 44% more than May 2021”. In total, the country has seen nearly six and a half million non-resident visitors in the past twelve months.
The strong growth in international travel is due in part to the strong network of flights to and from the Dominican Republic. In May, over 200 routes connected various cities to the sunny island, with 128 direct connections on 125 different airlines. Recently, several new North American airlines have announced new flights to the Dominican Republic including Frontier and Air Transat.
Aside from airports, which are the main entry point for international tourists, an increasing number of passengers are arriving on cruise ships. Due to the strong demand, the country recently announced that it would build a massive cruise ship port in Pedernales. Port Cabo Rojo will be the crown jewel of the area’s new development projects, housing infrastructure, shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Nearly 83,000 passengers arrived in the Dominican Republic on cruise ships last month.
In terms of travelers’ origin, the overwhelming majority – 71% – of passengers came from North America and other Caribbean countries, whereas 16% came from Europe. Around half of all tourists chose to stay at hotels, with the remaining travelers choosing other forms of accommodation including Airbnb. Private rentals are becoming increasingly popular among tourists, who enjoy the sense of privacy and authenticity.
Among the country’s airports, Punta Cana International Airport saw by far the most passenger traffic, followed by the capital’s Las Américas International Airport. Due to higher passenger demand, Punta Cana’s airport is undergoing a major renovation to add more jet bridges and expand terminal facilities. The goal is to accommodate more passengers in the wake of the post-pandemic recovery, and the project is set to be complete later this year.
The Dominican Republic expects the positive trend to persist in the following months, especially during the busy summer season. As more people look to travel, the country is working to diversify its tourism industry. By offering more than beaches and all-inclusive resorts, the country hopes to attract new types of travelers. One initiative that hopes to strengthen the country’s industry is the new Katmandu Theme park in Punta Cana, the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
Ecotourism is also a growing trend in the country, attracting tourists to more isolated parts of the country such as the towns of Miches and El Seibo. With new luxury resorts built with the environment in mind, the goal is to protect the natural surroundings while providing tourists the chance to witness Dominican wildlife.
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