The Dominican Republic has closed “the best September ever”, surpassing the number of foreign tourists received in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The Ministry of Tourism’s forecast is that October will also surpass the pre-pandemic figures and that the year will close with some 4.8 million international tourists. In 2019 the country had received 5.35 million non-resident visitors, 4.9% less than in 2018, as a result of the negative campaign suffered in the middle of the year due to the “mysterious deaths” in the destination that were later proven to be due to natural causes.
In August the country had been very close to full recovery and September has been record with a total of 365,544 non-residents. According to data published by EFE, this figure slightly exceeded (0.05%) the arrival of tourists in September 2018, the year that held the record until now, represented an increase of 14% over September 2019 and triples the numbers of the same month of 2020, when the beaches of the Caribbean country were beginning their process of progressive recovery after the confinement.
In turn, spending was exceeded by 25%, reaching 412 million dollars (355.6 million euros).
The rapid reactivation that the country is experiencing has allowed the recovery of 86% of the pre-pandemic employment levels up to August, as formal employment rose to 162,254 people distributed in more than 7,000 companies, varying from 6,648 additional employees compared to July and 51 additional companies for the same date.
Dominican Republic recovered 86% of pre-pandemic tourism jobs.
“This growth was registered mainly in lodging establishments, more than 4,311 and food and beverage outlets, more than 1,800,” the Dominican Ministry of Tourism has detailed.
The Minister of Tourism, David Collado, has pointed out that in the January-September period, 3.3 million foreign visitors arrived in the country by air, surpassing for the eleventh month the year 2019
Non-residents arriving in the country in 2021 were 79% tourists of foreign origin and the remaining 21% of Dominican origin.
In June, the Dominican Republic had tightened entry restrictions for passengers from 18 countries, but the gradual relaxation has allowed to recover historical issuers such as Russia, which moved up in the list of main issuers and ranked number 2, only behind the United States. The other countries in the top 4 are Spain and Colombia.
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According to data presented by the Ministry of Tourism, thanks to the “normalization of the influx of non-resident foreigners”, Punta Cana airport has once again positioned itself as the main entry point for passengers, followed in tourist intake by Las Americas International Airport and Cibao International Airport, as both exceeded in 2021 the data for the 2019 reference period.
In September, the country received 3,694 commercial flights with an occupancy rate of 71% through 87 airlines from 90 different airports and 43 countries. By sea, 10 cruise operations were carried out with eight ships, two of which touched Dominican ports on the same voyage representing the arrival of 22,572 cruise passengers at three different ports such as La Romana and Amber Cove, 3% more than in August.
As for hotel activity, in the ninth month of the year it reached its peak with respect to rooms in operation: 87% and the average occupancy rate during the week was 54% and on weekends 61%. The ministry has detailed that 22% of the guests accommodated are of local origin.
“The closeness observed between the performance of airline ticket bookings to the Dominican Republic and the flow of tourist arrivals, augurs a significant rebound for the end of the year in the trend of recovery that the country is undergoing”, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
For the coming months the forecasts are positive because air ticket reservations from October to December 2021 are between 12% and 20% above those made for 2019, which reflects the confidence of travelers in the Dominican Republic’s handling of the health crisis and the measures adopted by the Government for the reopening of the sector and compliance with protocols and vaccination.