The Dominican Republic recorded a new all-time record for international arrivals in November, as more than 570,000 tourists visited the sunny island. The country is experiencing a boom in international travel and is quickly gaining popularity among North American travelers; and was recently ranked among the top Caribbean destinations for U.S. visitors.
According to David Collado, the country’s tourism minister, more tourists are now visiting the Dominican Republic than at any point in history. In November, travel numbers were by more than 24% – or 109,000 – compared to 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the travel industry.
The minister, who gives a monthly press conference on the state of tourism in the Dominican Republic, had plenty of good news to share with reporters. In addition to record-breaking air arrivals, the Dominican Republic is also seeing its popularity skyrocket among cruise ship travelers, who are flocking to some of the country’s largest ports, including Taíno Bay and La Romana.
In November, 571,354 international arrivals were recorded, a record-shattering number as the country heads into the busy winter travel period. The number of tourists visiting the tropical island is projected to climb steeply this December, and hotels across the country are reporting occupancy rates well above 80%.
“We’ve done it again, we reached record travel figures thanks to the 571,000 tourists that came to our country by air. Our back-to-back monthly records are a true success story,” the minister told reporters at the press conference.
The United States remains the single largest market for inbound tourism, representing nearly 70% of all arrivals. With plenty of direct flights from major U.S. hubs, including Atlanta, New York, and Miami, travelers can find cheap deals. The Dominican Republic also enjoys close proximity to the U.S., making it a convenient destination for millions of sun-seeking travelers.
Meanwhile, Punta Cana is by far the most popular destination in the Dominican Republic and is home to a host of luxurious all-inclusive resorts. The resort town, which is widely recognized as one of the best in the world, is also a hotspot for all kinds of activities, from the nearby Scape Park adventure attraction to its renowned white-sand beaches, including Playa Bávaro.
Kathmandu, the first major theme park in the Caribbean, is set to open its doors in Punta Cana in early 2023. The massive mixed-use space will feature world-class rides that use augmented reality to offer thrilling experiences for adrenaline-seeking guests, as well as plenty of food and shopping.
This year alone, the Dominican Republic has welcomed over 7.4 million tourists – a massive feat for the country’s tourism industry – and that number is expected to increase towards the end of the year. Several airlines, including Sunwing, a Toronto-based low-cost airline, are also expanding into the Dominican market.
The government – led by President Luis Abinader – has made tourism one of the flagship projects of its tenure. According to officials, the tourism industry makes up the backbone of the national economy, and authorities have consistently prioritized new investments in hotels and resorts, as well as massive infrastructure projects such as the new Port Cabo cruise ship port in Pedernales.
The Dominican Republic is also home to new emerging destinations where large new resorts are being planned. Miches, a new eco-tourism hotspot near Samaná, is already home to several resorts, including Club Med’s Playa Esmeralda. Meanwhile, Grupo Puntacana, a leading hospitality firm in the country, recently announced plans to construct a massive 500-room resort in the area in 2024.
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