Latin American region has flourished with new hotel investments

Investment in new tourism projects in the Dominican Republic has been an important factor in the growth of the country’s tourism industry.

In the last decade, several Latin American countries have experienced significant growth in the opening of hotel projects. This phenomenon represents a remarkable advance that has placed them at an outstanding level globally.

An example of this is the Dominican Republic, which has become a benchmark in the opening of hotels and resorts in destinations such as Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo. Tourism plays a key role in the Dominican economy, and considerable investment has been made in the development of hotel infrastructure.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Dominican tourism sector between 2011 and 2020 totaled approximately US$13.6 billion, according to a summation by elCaribe, using the Central Bank as a source. Two years have passed, and although tourism activity paused for a while worldwide due to the covid-19 pandemic, after the time resumed, at the local level, capital has continued to arrive.

It is important to consider that foreign direct investment in the tourism sector includes not only the construction of new hotels and resorts, but also investments in tourism infrastructure, development of real estate projects, acquisition of properties and other aspects related to the sector.

A pillar of the national economy

Investment in tourism projects in the Dominican Republic has been a key factor in the nation’s growth and in the diversification of the hotel offer. It has allowed the opening of new hotels, the improvement of tourism infrastructure and the promotion of economic development in different regions.
These data are based on information available up to 2020, so it is possible that this may have changed significantly. Between 2011 and 2020, the Dominican tourism sector experienced significant growth in terms of tourist arrivals and foreign exchange generation. During this period, international tourist visits increased steadily.

According to data from the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic (BCRD), tourist arrivals increased from approximately 4.3 million in 2011 to more than 6.5 million in 2020, representing a growth of around 51% in that period.

In terms of foreign exchange generated by the tourism sector, the Dominican Republic also experienced a significant strengthening. According to the BCRD, tourism revenues increased from around US$4 billion in 2011 to more than US$7 billion in 2020, an increase of approximately 75% in the reference period.

Despite the challenges faced by the tourism sector in recent years, such as the pandemic, the Dominican Republic has made a quick recovery compared to other destinations and has received recognition from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In May 2023, the Dominican Republic received a total of 621,575 visitors via flights, reaching a total of 3,379,392 arrivals in the first five months of the year. These unprecedented figures demonstrate the growth of tourism in the country.

In addition to the Dominican Republic, other Latin American countries have experienced notable development in the hotel sector. Mexico has opened major projects in tourist destinations such as Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos and Mexico City.

Brazil has hosted major international events, such as the 2014 Fifa World Cup and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, which has spurred the opening of new hotels in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Salvador.

Colombia has had a boom in tourism, which has led to an increase in the opening of new hotels in destinations such as Cartagena, Bogota, Medellin and Cali. Peru has experienced significant growth in tourism due to its rich history, culture and natural attractions such as Machu Picchu.
Cities such as Lima and Cusco have seen an increase in hotel openings to meet tourist demand.

Argentina has seen an increase in the opening of boutique and luxury hotels in Buenos Aires, as well as in popular tourist destinations such as Bariloche, Mendoza and the Iguazu Falls region.
Santiago, Chile’s capital city, has experienced growth in the hotel industry, especially in the luxury and business hotel sector. Other tourist destinations such as Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and the Lake District have also seen an increase in the opening of hotel projects.

Taking advantage of nature

Costa Rica has been recognized for its natural beauty and its focus on sustainable tourism. Destinations such as San José, Guanacaste and Manuel Antonio have experienced an increase in the opening of hotels and resorts, especially in the “eco-lodges” and boutique lodging segment. In Panama City, the opening of luxury hotels and resorts has been remarkable in the last decade, especially in the Financial District and the Canal Zone.

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, has experienced growth in the hotel sector, especially after being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, the Galapagos Islands and other Ecuadorian tourist destinations have also seen an increase in hotel investment.

In general, investments in hotel projects vary widely in terms of amounts and scope, depending on various factors such as project size, location, hotel category, target market, and local economic conditions.

However, the aforementioned countries have attracted significant investments in the hotel sector due to their tourist attractiveness, economic growth and political stability. These investments have led to the development of hotels and resorts of different categories and styles, from boutique and luxury hotels to eco-friendly accommodations and all-inclusive resorts.

Investments in hotel projects are usually made by national and international hotel companies, private investors and investment funds specialized in the hotel industry. These investors seek to take advantage of the tourism potential and growth opportunities in each destination.

The Dominican Republic began developing its first tourism projects in the 1960s. During that period, the government recognized the country’s potential as a destination and efforts were made to attract investment and develop the necessary infrastructure to receive tourists. One of the first major tourism projects in the Dominican Republic was the construction of Playa Dorada in Puerto Plata. Opened in 1974, Playa Dorada was one of the first planned tourist complexes in the country and attracted international attention.

Later, in the 1980s, additional efforts were made to develop other tourist destinations in the country, such as Punta Cana and La Romana. These destinations experienced rapid growth in the hotel industry, with the opening of hotels and resorts to meet the growing demand.

Since then, the Dominican Republic has continued to attract investment in the hotel sector, with the opening of new projects in different parts of the country. The hotel offer has diversified, ranging from large all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels and eco-lodges (these are tourist establishments characterized by their focus on sustainability and respect for the environment. These hotels are designed and operated in a way that minimizes their environmental impact and promotes eco-friendly practices).

What about the contribution of banking?

In recent years, the government has continued to promote tourism development and facilitate investment. Policies and programs have been implemented to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of tourism, as well as to improve infrastructure and services.

Banking has been key to the advancement of the formerly called “smokeless industry” (it has today). Banco Popular Dominicano is one of the main financial institutions in the country. And so is the Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana. Both have pushed the country forward.

With openings here and there

-Hard Rock Hotel: It was inaugurated in 2011, in Punta Cana.
-Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa: Opened in 2013 in Punta Cana.

-Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana: Opening in 2019, this all-inclusive resort is in Cap Cana and offers luxury experience with various dining options,
pools and family-friendly activities.
-Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa: Opened in 2016 in Cap Cana.
-Hilton La Romana, an All-Inclusive: Opened in 2018.
-Dreams Dominicus La Romana: Opened in 2016 in Bayahibe.
-Paradisus Palma Real: Opened in 2011 in Punta Cana.
-Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa: This all-inclusive resort opened in 2017 in Punta Cana.
-Grand Palladium Bavaro Suites: Opened in 2012.
-Excellence El Carmen: Opened in 2016 in Punta Cana.
-In Peru: The Belmond Palacio Nazarenas Hotel
Nazarenas was inaugurated in 2012.

Mexico: The Chablé Resort & Spa hotel in Yucatán opened in 2016.
-Brazil: The Emiliano Rio de Janeiro hotel opened in 2016.
-Colombia: The Hotel Sofitel Legend
Santa Clara Cartagena, opened in 2011 and Hotel Las Islas in 2018.
-Costa Rica: Nayara Springs Hotel in La Fortuna opened in 2014.
-Chile: Tierra Patagonia in Torres del Paine opened in 2012.
-Ecuador: Hotel Mashpi Lodge del Chocó opened in 2012.


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Dominican Republic Live Editor

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