Beautiful beaches, tourist-friendly Punta Cana resorts, and favorable prices have quickly made the Dominican Republic one of the fastest-growing travel destinations in the Caribbean. The country has a variety of activities and geographical areas to offer travelers, such as the capital of the country – Santo Domingo. This vibrant city of 3.5 million people has a rich and deep history and an amazing food scene. If you want a break from city life, there are waterfalls and plentiful beaches in Puerto Plata and vast nature with varied wildlife at Parque Nacional del Este.
However, the crown jewel of the country and epicenter of explosive growth in the Dominican Republic is the compact area of Punta Cana, which accounts for 70% of tourists coming into the country. The town is brimming with nationally recognized beaches and luxurious resorts that have tourists flocking at all times of the year.
According to a report put out by the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), this exponential growth will be fully showcased during the first week of November this year. Due to increased demand, the airport announced that it will now host 454 scheduled arrivals this week. This constitutes a 60-flight (15%) increase over the previous week’s 394 flights going into PUJ.
Distribution of Arriving Flights Worldwide
In the most recent full month of data released by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism (September 2022), the majority of incoming flights to Punta Cana have been from the United States. According to the data, out of 1,616 flights during the month, 644 (39%) were from the US. This was followed in North America by Canada, with 171 flights (11%). Other arrivals to Punta Cana were largely from Central and South American countries, with Panama (11%) and Colombia (10%) being the largest number during the month.
Finally, In Europe, the five countries with the most arrivals in September were Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Portugal.
Capacity of Arriving Flights
Another important metric when discussing flights into Punta Cana to obtain the full picture of demand is passenger capacity on arrivals. According to statistics from the Dominican Tourism board, the airport averaged a momentous 85.1% occupancy rate during the month of September. The top five airlines compromising this high capacity included U.S. Airlines such as American Airlines (91.7%) and United Airlines (88.7%), along with Colombian Airline Avianca (89.4%), Panama’s Copa Airlines (89.1%) and United Kingdom’s Tui Airways (94.1%).
The high demand and low available capacity this year has caught the eyes of many other airlines also, with Canadian low-cost carrier Sunwing announcing new flights this winter and many other airlines investing in flights to the area to keep up with customer demand.
Tourism in Punta Cana
According to statistics provided by the Tourism Intelligence System (SITUR), before October 15th, there were 3,220,175 non-national tourists coming through the Punta Cana International airport in 2022, which is on pace to be the most tourists the area has ever seen. The record month for air travel thus far has been July, with 418,295 tourists passing through the airport, but it is expected that the monthly number will be broken as the high season kicks into full gear in November and December.
To keep up with the record-breaking visitors, the town is welcoming growth, with new resorts being opened and large entertainment complexes being built to keep up with the increased popularity. The airport is also growing to keep up with demand, with projects for sky bridges and more floor space in the final stages of construction and improvements to make security a breeze.
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