The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism announced a 8.4 percent growth in visits in the first quarter during the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) held at the Barcelo Convention Center. Both February and March experienced an 8.4 percent growth in the quarter with 14 percent increases coming from the U.S. and Canada, Dominican Republic’s top markets, as well as from emerging markets like Russia.
All of the country’s eight international airports have welcomed increasing flights and passengers: Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) had an 8.5 percent increase over the same period last year; Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) at 4.3 percent; Puerto Plata’s Gregorio International Airport (POP) at 6 percent and Samana’s El Catey International Airport (AZS) boasting a 22 percent increase.
The Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia said, “The main reasons visits continue to increase are the country’s magnificent, unspoiled nature, year-round sunny and warm climate, beautiful beaches, golf courses, world-class hotels, thriving culture and gastronomy. Visitors from around the world also say that their favorite aspect of the destination is how well friendly Dominicans treat them.” The Punta Cana region in Dominican Republic features some of the world’s best beaches and turquoise blue seas, pictured above is Juanillo Beach.
“The enormous visitor increase is also attributed to strategic investment in new tourism products and infrastructure throughout the country. The Dominican Republic government has systematically developed strategic new roads and highways to connect diverse tourism offerings within a short one or two hour drive, creating a revolution in the tourism movement here,” he added.
Several additional tourism developments were announced during DATE this year, including:
Dominican Republic’s much-anticipated Coral Highway will officially open by August of this year and will be the country’s most modern and safest highway. The highway will allow visitors from Punta Cana to reach the country’s Capital City, Santo Domingo, in just two hours. The new highway stretches from the beach destination, Punta Cana/Bavaro, to La Romana and Bayahibe, finishing in Santo Domingo and opening up the historic Colonial City to more visitors than ever before.
Pablo Pinero of Grupo Pinero, developers of Gran Bahia Resorts, announced the addition of five new hotels to be built in Dominican Republic. He attributed his company’s selection of Dominican Republic for the new hotels to the convenient proximity of the country to the strong North American market and emerging Latin American markets. www.Grupo-Pinero.com
Puerto Bahia Marina & Residences is the newest shining star in Samana Bay. This luxurious and secluded sanctuary features the 33-suite Bannister Hotel, the first Cafe Del Mar in the Americas with an infinity pool over-looking Samana Bay and the only full service international marina in the area. The marina features 105 slips and receives international boating enthusiasts. www.PuertoBahiaSamana.com
The Cabarete and Sosua Association of Hotels and Restaurants introduced a campaign to highlight the unique diversity found along the towns on the North Coast, including some the best conditions in the world for kiteboarding. Cabarete hopes to attract a new genre of travelers with new boutique hotels, including the new Millennium Resort & Spa.
Grupo PUNTACANA announced an opening date for the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel located in the PUNTACANA Village complex. The 122-room hotel will open in October 2012 and will serve the growing number of business travelers who come to conduct business in Punta Cana. Starwood Hotels & Resorts will also debut its Westin brand at the PUNTACANA Resort & Club in late 2013. www.PUNTACANA.com/grupo-puntacana
The Hotel Association of Samana Bay shared the growing success of the destination, which they said has topography found nowhere else in the region and therefore are looking to maximize upon this. The popularity of this destination is rapidly growing both in regular tourist visits, as well as in cruise ship arrivals. In 2011, Samana Bay received 85,000 cruise ship passengers with 250,000 expected in 2012.
Paradisus Punta Cana recently renovated guest rooms and a new Gabi Restaurant. The resort has renovated the Standard and Royal Service rooms with modern decoration and new features, such as an outdoor Jacuzzi or private garden. The Gabi Restaurant transformation will premier in October 2012 and accommodate 360 guests at its main salon and 140 at the interior restaurant, Market Grill, which will offer contemporary cuisine and GABI’s signature environment. www.Paradisus-PuntaCana.com
Paradisus Palma Real announced a new royal service lounge that overlooks the ocean and offers guests premiere service once they book their stay. Paradisus’ signature Royal Service Suites were also upgraded, including the new Juice Bar in the beach area, new fitness area YHI Moves, Italian Restaurant Palazzo, new computers in the VIP welcome area, and more. www.ParadisusPalmaReal.com
The Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia inaugurated the Sirenis Aquagames waterpark on April 17th. The water park is located within the complex of the Sirenis Hotels & Resorts in Uvero Alto, Punta Cana. The park caters to families and kids of all ages and is offered at a discounted rate to hotel guests. www.SirenisHotels.com
Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, www.GoDominicanRepublic.com