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Dominican Republic Popularity Skyrockets With Busiest January On Record

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The Dominican Republic just broke its all-time record for international arrivals for the month of January as the country’s popularity continues to soar. The optimistic figures come as most hotels and resorts across the sunny island report high occupancy rates. Meanwhile, a growing number of travelers are choosing to visit the country on cruise ships, and analysts say the Dominican Republic will likely welcome well over 8 million travelers by the end of the year. 

Aerial view of a Punta Cana beach resort area

New statistics published this week show that the Dominican Republic had the busiest January on record for travel, as over 670,000 tourists visited the sunny island. The figure is even higher when considering the massive number of cruise ship passengers – over 270,000 – that traveled through a Dominican port during the first month of the year. 

Busy airport in the Dominican Republic capital

Overall, more than 948,000 travelers set foot in the Dominican Republic in January, the highest figure on record for that month and a whopping 27% more than in 2022. January is generally one of the busiest months for the local travel industry as countless tourists fly to sun-soaked resort hotspots like Punta Cana or La Romana. The record-shattering numbers are all the more impressive, considering that the Dominican Republic has broken its own monthly record for six months in a row.

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A cruise ship arriving to the Dominican Republic

According to the country’s minister for tourism, David Collado, “our greatest challenge in 2023 is to improve on last year’s extraordinary results,” the high-ranking executive said in a statement. Authorities have been proactive in facilitating more arrivals and have invested significant resources in renovating ports and airports, as well as signing new open skies treaties with important inbound markets, including Canada.

A Caribbean beach with palm trees and sunny weather

Unprecedented demand for travel to the tropical nation is translated to unusually high hotel occupancy rates, and countless properties on the island were nearly sold out during most of January. Growing demand is also leading to new hotel and resort investments across the island, and several of the country’s newest resorts, such as Temptation Miches, have proven to be a hit among travelers. 

A beach resort with a small parasol

Punta Cana, by far the country’s most popular destination, welcomed around 70% of all international arrivals by air during January. The city’s airport, Punta Cana International Airport, also the country’s largest, continues to play a key role in boosting growing arrival figures. Meanwhile, other seaside destinations like Samaná, Puerto Plata, and La Romana also saw their average hotel occupancy rise during January.

The Dominican Republic is widely expected to be one of the most popular Caribbean destinations in 2023 for U.S. travelers. In a recent poll published by TripAdvisor, Punta Cana outranked traditional heavyweights like Playa del Carmen, firmly placing the tropical country as a leading destination for sun-seeking travelers. 

Punta Cana resort and pool area with palm trees

A growing number of Americans are choosing to travel in 2023, and many are choosing the Dominican Republic for their Caribbean getaway. While the country has long been a hit among U.S. travelers, arrival figures are increasing among Canadian and European travelers. Regardless of nationality, travelers are flocking to the Dominican Republic’s stunning coastlines in search of sun, warm hospitality, and some of the most prestigious all-inclusives in the region.

A sunset in Punta Cana beach with palm trees

Cruising Experiencing Record Growth In Dominican Republic 

January was also a watershed moment for the cruise ship industry in the Dominican Republic as over 112 massive ships docked in the country’s ports, including the world’s largest vessel, the Wonder of the Seas. Overall, cruise ship passenger figures are up 50% compared to the previous 2017 record. Puerto Plata’s Taino Bay and Amber Cove ports are the port in the country, although La Romana’s cruise terminal is also seeing impressive growth numbers.

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