More than one million local and foreign tourists have visited Dominican Republic’s numerous protected areas this year—including Los Haitises, Mirador del Este, the Damajagua Waterfalls, the José Armando Bermúdez National Park—which the authorities say results from improved infrastructure and an ambitious plan to identify and promote them.
The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry said the figure is increasing, according to managers and tour operators with excursions to nature reserves such as Los Haitises, Mirador del Este, the 27 Falls of Damajagua and Jima in the José Armando Bermúdez National Park.
“Since 1997 to date the number of people using protected areas for recreation and relaxation has increased, and it’s a source of income through ecotourism activities and services,” said Daneris Santana, deputy minister for Protected Areas and Biodiversity.
Among the areas with the most reported visits, the official cited Los Haitises, Estero Hondo, Los Tres Ojos, Damajagua Falls and Jaragua National Park. He said the highest jump in the flow of visitors is from November to July, in addition to as a spike during the Easter season. He said Environment has bolstered surveillance, refurbishing the areas of access to reception centers and signs and sanitary facilities for people to find services at ecotourism sites, to hit the country’s target set at attracting 10 million tourists yearly.
Santana said the work is being carried out at a cost of around RD$50.0 million, adding that Ministry staff do the tasks with on-site materials. “We work to minimize the obstacles that could be there, especially in areas where ecotourism adventures are provided.”
For more information, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/tourism/2014/12/5/53558/Nature-spurs-Dominican-Republics-tourism-boom
Photo of one of the Damajagua waterfalls from http://isairatours.com/tour-puerto-plata-city-and-damajagua-waterfalls