Dominican Republic, The Caribbean’s “Most Popular” Destination


In “The Caribbean’s Most Popular Destination Continues to Climb,” Alexander Britell (Caribbean Journal) examines tourism to the Dominican Republic, stating that the vast majority of visitors converge on Punta Cana. He credits Grupo Puntacana for this success in terms of major developments, such as the future Puntarena project in southern region of the Dominican Republic, which promises more than 4,000 hotel rooms.

While the Dominican Republic’s position as the most popular travel destination in the Caribbean by visitor volume has no particularly close challenge, the country isn’t resting on its laurels. Yes, the country has publicly set a rather intimidating goal: 10 million annual tourists by the year 2023.

And while it remains to be seen if the destination can actually attain that level of visitor volume, one thing is clear: the Dominican Republic is certainly giving it a good shot.

The country’s tourism sector is surging again so far in 2018, with a 6.14 percent increase in stayover tourist arrivals in the first half of 2018, according to the latest numbers released by the Dominican Republic’s central bank, confirmed by a spokesperson for the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

That represented a total of 3,440,505 passengers in the first half of 2018, the most in the Caribbean by far, with Cuba in second with around 2.5 million stayover visitors.

Of course, the vast majority of visitors continue to converge on Punta Cana, meaning if the country is to reach that goal it will have to spread the visitor volume to new poles, from Puerto Plata to Santo Domingo. The latter seems to be an area of focus, as new hotels pop up and others get reinvigorated (most notably the historic El Embajador). [. . .]

That has worked in large part due to the brilliance of Grupo Puntacana, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is behind another major tourism pole project: Puntarena, a $1.5 billion development in the southern region of the Dominican Republic that covers 15.5 million square meters and whose first phase could mean more than 4,000 hotel rooms. [. . .]

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