International tourist arrival statistics published for October show that the Dominican Republic has once again welcomed a record number of travelers to the sunny island. Over 490,000 visitors were recorded last month in what is yet another record-setting month for the country’s tourism industry. The Dominican Republic has seen its popularity rise steadily thanks to its beachside resort destinations, warm weather, and, increasingly, cruising.
The impressive numbers were revealed this week by David Collado, the country’s tourism minister, who gave a press conference on the state of tourism in the Dominican Republic. According to the high-ranking official, 491,788 tourists visited the island last month, a new all-time record. Despite being one of the calmest months for travel, hotels reported high occupancy rates as North Americans flocked to sun-soaked beaches and all-inclusive resorts.
Overall, more than 5.8 million tourists have visited the Dominican Republic by air, and several hundred thousand have come on cruise ships, a number that is expected to grow sharply as new ports are built. Meanwhile, several airlines, including Sunwing and Frontier, have added new flights to the popular tropical island, helping boost arrival numbers further.
Travel to the Dominican Republic has been growing at a steady rate in the wake of the COVID-pandemic, and arrival numbers are up by more than 32% compared to the same time in 2019. As people once again set out to travel to their favorite destinations, many are choosing the Caribbean, especially U.S and Canadian tourists. Arrivals in October 2022 are up by more than 119,000 compared to last year, when travel was already starting to pick up.
“We have done it once again; this is the second consecutive record-breaking October, something truly unprecedented,” the minister said in a statement. It seems the local tourism and hospitality industry shares this sentiment, at least based on the number of new properties being opened and renovated. Several of the country’s popular resort destinations – including Punta Cana and La Romana – have seen new hotel openings.
Meanwhile, investors are setting their sights on new destinations in the tropical country, including Miches, where two new adult-only Temptation resorts opened in October. And last week, hospitality giant Grupo Puntacana announced ambitious plans to build a massive 500-room resort in the eco-tourist destination, bolstering the tourist infrastructure of a once-isolated and faraway region.
The Dominican Republic enjoys a privileged position as a tourist destination thanks to its proximity to major markets – especially the U.S – as well as excellent aerial connections. Officials in the country are aiming to sign a new open skies treaty with the United States, which is expected to be finalized soon, potentially making airfare a lot cheaper and more easily available.
Based on the current record-setting trend, analysts expect November and December to be extremely busy for tourist arrivals. Hotels are reporting above-average occupancy rates for the end of the year, and more than 7 million people are expected to travel to the country by December this year. As cold weather takes over much of North America, hotels and resorts in the Dominican Republic are gearing up for a busy winter season.
Tourism remains the single largest industry for the country, representing nearly 20% of its GDP. The United States is the most important market for inbound tourism, representing nearly 70% of all arrivals, followed by Canada and several South American countries. Although Punta Cana remains by far the most popular destination for travelers, Samaná, Puerto Plata, and La Romana also figure on travelers’ wish lists.
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