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Dominican Republic Sets New All-Time Tourism Record As Destination’s Popularity Skyrockets

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December was a record-breaking month for tourism in the Dominican Republic as the country welcomed over 750,000 travelers. December’s record-setting travel numbers helped the country reach a new record of nearly 8.5 million visitors for the year. Millions of travelers chose the sunny island for some of the Caribbean’s top beaches, lavish all-inclusive resorts, and a uniquely fun-loving culture. 2023 has already gotten off to a good start, with crowded resorts reported across the country. 

Arrival numbers are up a whopping 10% compared to 2019 – itself a highly busy year for travel. Similarly, cruise ship popularity is up 20%, a strong indication that the sector is catching up following years of Covid restrictions. A growing number of travelers – especially from the U.S. and Canada – are choosing the tropical island for their next sun-soaked vacation. 

Aerial view of a Punta Cana beach with blue water

A recent study by TripAdvisor further highlighted the Dominican Republic’s unstoppable popularity when it revealed that Punta Cana is the second-most sought-after international destination for U.S. travelers, even surpassing heavyweights like Playa del Carmen. The seaside resort town is also home to the country’s largest airport, Punta Cana International Airport, which handles up to 70% of all incoming passenger traffic. 

What Makes The Dominican Republic So Popular 

Home to some of the Caribbean’s most idyllic white-sand beaches and paradisical islands, the Dominican Republic’s tropical allure is proving to be a huge success among travelers. Tourists are also opting for the popular destination thanks to an abundance of all-inclusive resorts – whether adults-only or family-friendly – where all travelers’ needs are looked after. 

Aerial shot of a Punta Cana resort with tropical water and greenery

The country’s government, led by president Luis Abinader, is pushing for more vacationers to visit the island in an attempt to boost revenue. More resources are being poured into infrastructure, from airports to ports and highways. As a result, travelers can expect to see updated and modern airport terminals in Punta Cana and Cibao soon. The island state also has a record number of aerial connections to large North American and European hubs, with airlines like JetBlue and Frontier opening new routes. 

Travelers can also find more and more top-rated resorts across the country. While Punta Cana is by far the most popular destination in the Dominican Republic, tourists are increasingly opting for new locations such as Miches and Pedernales, both home to some of the most stunning and secluded beaches. 

Aerial view of a colourful area in Punta Cana's beach

The Dominican Republic offers a little something for all kinds of travelers. While Punta Cana and its large all-inclusive are the preferred base for most travelers, destinations like La Romana, Puerto Plata, and the capital Santo Domingo are popular alternatives where culture and coast meet. 

Palm-tree-lined beach in the Dominican Republic

Meanwhile, more adventurous tourists can opt for ecotourist havens like Pedernales and Miches, where abundant hiking paths and virgin rainforests await travelers. In 2023, online vacation rentals are expected to continue growing in popularity as travelers seek new experiences. On the other hand, all-inclusives are constantly undergoing costly renovations to retain clients by offering ever-increasing levels of luxury and comfort. 

American Airlines plane and airport vehicles

The Growth Won’t Stop

The Dominican Republic welcomed over 750,000 travelers in December, confirming the country’s solid growth as an international destination. A growing number of travelers – especially from the U.S. and Canada – are choosing the tropical island for their next sun-soaked vacation. 

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Idyllic tropical beach in the Dominican Republic with a couple standing

Overall, nearly 8.5 million travelers visited the Dominican Republic last year, a new all-time record as travel picks up globally. Analyses widely expect the trend to continue throughout 2023, and hotels are currently reporting 75% and above occupancy rates across places like Punta Cana and Samaná.  

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