Pedernales and Fitur: Abinader’s two biggest bets on tourism in 2021

This February 27, President Luis Abinader will render accounts for the second time before the National Assembly after coming to power. He does so at the end of a year in which the economy and health were the dominant issues.

In the economic aspect, one of the productive activities to which the president has paid more attention is tourism and the fact is notable because he became the first president to attend the International Tourism Fair (Fitur 2022) held in Madrid, Spain.

“Dominican Republic participated as a partner country in Fitur 2022.”
During the development of this event, Abinader, who spent five days in Madrid promoting Dominican tourism and encouraging local investment, held several meetings with Spanish authorities, Dominican businessmen based in Spain, airlines and Dominican banking authorities who participated in Fitur.

Some actors of the tourism sector have described Abinader’s visit to the Madrid fair as an “unprecedented event”, where its fruits will begin to be seen in 2023.

Tourism development in Pedernales

Another of the big bets of President Abinader’s administration is the Cabo Rojo-Pedernales Tourism Development Plan, a project in which an investment of US$2,245 million is estimated.

The President himself has defined the Pedernales plan as the way to achieve “remarkable” economic growth, since this tourist center will create close to 20,000 direct jobs and more than 50,000 indirect jobs. At Fitur 2022, Abinader, together with the executive director of the General Directorate of Public-Private Partnership (DGAPP), Sigmund Freund, presented the master plan of the Cabo Rojo-Pedernales Tourism Development Project, the first tourist destination in the Caribbean developed from scratch under a public-private partnership.

Flamingos in the Laguna de Oviedo Protected Area, Jaragua National Park (National Park), Pedernales.

First kickoff

The President’s weekend visits to some provinces have also been the stage for Abinader to talk about his plans for tourism and his strategy to consolidate the Dominican Republic in the top ranks of world tourism.

For this reason, the president has had direct contact with businessmen of the national tourism sector and has attended the first kick-off of several tourism projects including hotels, construction or renovation of roads in the destinations and meetings with the tourism clusters of the provinces he visits every weekend.

Some of the first kick-offs led by the president during 2021 were the Viva Wyndham Resorts hotel in Miches, the construction of 129 Life Style Tourist Villas in Puerto Plata, the remodeling of the Malecón de Cabrera and Laguna Gri Gri in Río San Juan, the construction of the “El Dorado” Amusement Park in Punta Cana, the reconstruction and adaptation of the Plaza de Vendedores and the Playita de Guayacanes, the expansion of the Punta Cana airport, the remodeling of Las Galeras Beach in Samaná, among others.

Colonial City

Abinader has also been very interested in the refurbishment of the Colonial City, which is why in December 2021 he announced an investment of RD$460 million in small works and refurbishment of historical monuments in the Colonial City.

President Luis Abinader inaugurated the Las Atarazanas parking lot, which has a capacity for 200 vehicles and will generate 162 jobs.

He also put into operation the first Evergo charging stations for electric vehicles in the Colonial City, installed in the Parqueo Las Atarazanas. Likewise, President Abinader has toured this destination of the Dominican capital to inaugurate museums, renovate the painting of houses, among others.

Tourist arrivals

The president has met in Punta Cana with general managers of hotel chains.

In addition, through the Ministry of Tourism, the country’s publicity campaigns have been intensified in countries such as the United States, which apparently contributed to the fact that the last months of 2021 were “the best in the history of Dominican tourism”, according to Minister David Collado every time he announced the figures for tourist arrivals that year.

During 2021, 4,995,412 tourists arrived in the Dominican Republic. In offering these statistics, Abinader pointed out that there were many formulas and attempts, but that his responsible recovery plan and an active Tourism Cabinet coordinated with the Health Cabinet, have managed to “make a real change”, positioning the country as one of the world leaders in recovery.

Speaking of tourism performance, precisely at Fitur 2022, Abinader received recognition from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for his successful recovery in the tourism industry and his efficient management with sanitary protocols in the different destinations of this Caribbean country.

Jobs

Another point that President Abinader is likely to highlight in his speech is that in the entire tourism industry around 65,000 formal jobs were recovered throughout 2021, which is an estimated recovery of 91,347 direct informal jobs and 185,000 indirect jobs.

In addition, that the year-on-year growth of formal employment in December 2021 of 61% and 5% compared to December 2018 and one out of every five formal jobs recovered in the country was in Hotels, Bars and Restaurants.

Revenue generated

The estimated income received by the country during 2021 was US$5,626 million in foreign exchange thanks to the arrival of tourists, a fact that Abinader could mention in his accountability as a sign of support for the stability of the country’s exchange rate.

Furthermore, the reactivation of the sector meant inter-annual growth figures of 38.3% in the January-November period, and as a partial consequence, a growth of the Dominican economy of 12.5%, according to figures from the Ministry of Tourism.

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