The Dominican Republic is expected to welcome a record-shattering number of Canadian travelers in 2023 following the recent signing of the Open Skies treaty between the tropical island and Canada. The agreement signed a few weeks ago will cut down on red tape needed to launch new air routes between the two countries and bring down flight costs.
More Canadians than ever before are visiting the Dominican Republic in search of warm weather, fantastic beaches, and stellar hospitality. Although travel numbers have exploded following Canada’s complete removal of COVID-19 restrictions late last year, they are projected to jump even further after the new Open Skies treaty was signed between the two nations.
According to Héctor Porcella, the Director of the Dominican Institute for Civil Aviation (IDAC), over a million Canadians could visit the Dominican Republic in 2023. That’s an impressive number for a country of some 30 million people and much-welcomed news for the Dominican Republic, a country that heavily relies on the North American market.
“The signing of the new treaty will massively aid in opening new aerial routes from Canada to the Dominican Republic, and Canada is currently the second-largest market for our country,” the official said in a statement.
Last year, a whopping 715,000 Canadians visited the Dominican Republic, leading analysts to believe that this year well over a million Canadian travelers could potentially set foot on the sunny island. Canadians can currently travel to the Dominican Republic on legacy carriers like Air Canada, as well as low-cost airlines, including Sunwing and Air Transat.
This could change quickly, as airlines will rush to take advantage of the new Open Skies treaty, which removes barriers that for long prevented Canadian airlines from launching new routes. The treaty, which recently came into effect, took over 14 years to negotiate and is expected to revolutionize the market between the two nations.
Under the new agreement, Canada-based airlines can negotiate directly with Dominican airports to open up new routes, leading to increased availability and, hopefully, lower costs for travelers. Despite the good news, visitors will still have to wait several months for airlines to begin official negotiations. Travelers could see several new routes launching by summer this year.
Dominican Republic To Sign Similar Treaty With U.S.
Officials in the Dominican Republic say the country is close to signing a similar Open Skies treaty with the United States. The two countries have been in talks for years, and although progress has been slow, officials are hopeful that negotiations will conclude soon.
According to Robert Thomas, a high-ranking diplomat from the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, the treaty is expected to be signed soon. Much like the agreement between Canada and the Dominican Republic, the Open Skies treaty would benefit U.S. travelers, providing them with more direct flights to popular Dominican destinations. Although the U.S. is rather well-connected to the tropical island, smaller regional cities often have to travel to hubs like Atlanta or Miami before reaching the Dominican Republic.
When signed, the new treaty is expected to further boost the number of travelers opting for the Dominican Republic for their annual getaway. The country, which recently reported its best-ever January on record, is expecting another busy year for travel. Destinations like Punta Cana are seeing occupancy rates of well over 80%, and new hotspots like Miches and Pedernales are slowly gaining popularity.
While air travel continues to grow at an impressive pace, the number of cruise ship passengers in the Dominican Republic is also reaching record levels as officials invest in new ports and renovate existing ones.
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