Dominican tourism is currently in a very strong and successful position, superior to other countries in the region, due to its rapid recovery after the pandemic.
Likewise, the diversification of Dominican tourism has led to the arrival of tourists from all over the world to visit the country beyond “the sun and the beach”.
The statement was made by the president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Julia Simpson, who attributes this success and diversification of Dominican tourism to the great union between the public-private sector.
“The Dominican Republic is receiving visitors from all over the world, from the United States, Canada, Europe. They have a leadership. I was in the Republic a few months ago and I got to know its president and the minister, and they really work hand in hand with the private sector, of course they both respect their different worlds, but I can say that the government of the Dominican Republic understands very well the value that sustainable tourism brings to their country”, expressed Simpson.
Interviewed by Acento via Zoom, Simpson highlighted that “the performents” of tourism in the Dominican Republic is really very strong, since in 2019 it represented some 16 billion dollars, almost 16% of the economy.
Citing the WTTC’s Annual Economic Impact Report (EIR), Simpson said that by the end of 2022, the Dominican Republic’s travel and services sector reached $16.7 billion. “We are looking at the end of last year, it was already exceeding 2019 numbers.”
The WTTC forecasts that, by the close of 2023, the tourism sector will bring in some $17.7 billion. “Also, we take a look into the future over the next 10 years, and we are saying that by 2033 it is going to represent $25 billion, so it is a sector that is growing in a very strong way.”
“It is true that the Dominican Republic is right now more successful than other parts of the Caribbean, in the sense that it is getting back to pre-pandemic numbers faster than other parts of the Caribbean.”
In Simpson’s opinion, the country should continue with the strategy that is giving it results. “The Dominican Republic is being very successful, first not to lose what is making it successful which is the great union between the private and public sector.”
On the diversification of Dominican tourism, Simpson said “there is a lot of diversity in the Republic, there is sun and beach which is very important because they are precious and beautiful, but biodiversity, people who want to do …, but there is also luxury travel and they have done very well. In the Dominican Republic there is a lot of variety, there are opportunities for every type of people, and that is very important”.
The WTTC president stressed that beyond the country’s beautiful beaches, the Dominican Republic has a very interesting and important history, which she was able to appreciate. “When I was in its central city, I visited all its museums … the history is very important, and there is also a lot of life in the city.”
Sipmson added that “Santo Domingo is a historic city, beautiful, they are renovating it in a very respectful way with the history, beautiful houses, boutique hotels, safe night life, really very good, also the history that is very interesting in the whole island, so I enjoyed it.”
Also, he said that sports tourism is very important, as he noted that “there is a lot of tradition of sports in the country”.
Sustainability and Punta Cana Group
During her visit to the country, the WTTC president toured some of the country’s tourist spots, especially Punta Cana. “I was in Punta Cana, I saw how they take care of the corals there. The Punta Cana Group has a system to protect the corals, which as you know are affected by climate change. They are also working with local fishermen to protect fish species”.
In this sense, Simpson praised the work done by the Punta Cana Group, which has a scientific center, where they are growing coral “it is really something incredible”.
The executive stressed that sustainability has a lot to do with working in the communities, and she could see that many hoteliers in Punta Cana have contributed and supported their citizens, opening schools and centers for handicapped children.
“I have seen it myself, they are helping people. They are building apartments and houses for workers in the sector. That is a very important part of the sustainability of the communities that are in the tourism world.”
Julia Simpson understands that there is a need for more coordination among the countries in the region and to have a plan, which would give her better results.
“I always like to look at the Caribbean as a whole region. It is a region and of course, there is competition in the Caribbean, but I have always said that, if the Caribbean could operate more as a region and have a plan, it would be more successful,” suggested the WTTC president.