Infrastructure, security, investments and air connectivity are the four main challenges ahead for Dominican tourism to continue consolidating its tourist positioning in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
The remarks were made by the Minister of Tourism, David Collado, during an event held yesterday to commemorate World Tourism Day, in which he also pointed out the improvements and advances of the industry that has already attracted the arrival of 7.6 million tourists in the first nine months of this year: 6,025,000 by air and 1,600,000 by sea.
During his speech, Collado emphasized that the improvement of infrastructure is one of the main tasks to be carried out in order to raise the quality of tourism offered. “A tourist cannot go hopping on a bus to get to a beach,” he said.
He said that, in order to solve this situation, the Ministry of Tourism has invested in improving the roads of tourist points such as Verón-Punta Cana, “which save 30 and 40 minutes of transit time” both for visitors and hotel employees.
He detailed that this work is being carried out in Las Terrenas and Bayahibe, and is added to the renovation and construction of the seafronts of Santo Domingo East and La Romana, respectively.
Secondly, the minister mentioned the reinforcement of the security in the tourist points, for which he proposed the creation of a Tourist Police Business Brigade, in order to involve the private sector in this work through the investment of equipment and supplies.
This action would be added to the 130 million pesos in equipment and vehicles that have already been delivered to the Tourist Police and to the 150 million pesos that the Ministry of Tourism will deliver in the next 15 days, for the purchase of vans, as well as technological tools that will help to reinforce security and to eradicate the evils associated with sexual tourism.
Collado pointed out the need for the country to continue to attract more investments to promote the growth of the hotel capacity of the country.
He affirmed that the construction of the W hotels, of the international chain Marrot, and the Ritz-Carlton will enrich the hotel offer of the country.
He acknowledged the investments made by both commercial banks and pension fund managers in the development of tourism projects.
Finally, the official acknowledged the need for more hotel routes, so that travel to the Dominican Republic becomes increasingly competitive in terms of convenience and prices. “Air connectivity is fundamental for the development of tourism,” he emphasized.
He cited as an example of this the work carried out by the low-cost airline Arajet, which has enabled the management of new air routes in South America.
Contributions to the economy
For Collado, World Tourism Day finds the Dominican Republic “in a privileged position” to continue improving in these aspects.
So far this year, tourism has contributed 55,000 million pesos in taxes and 233,000 million pesos in purchases.