Humpback whales boost Samaná’s economy after effects of covid-19

Until the first week of March 21,000 tourists visited the Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

The humpback whale watching season is a natural tourist attraction that contributes to the economy of the coastal areas of Samaná thanks to the visit of foreign and local tourists.

Every year, 2,000 to 3,000 whales arrive to the northern coast of the country to mate in the warm waters of the Atlantic. This event occurs spontaneously during the January-March period.

Humpback whale watching is one of the activities that diversify tourism in the Dominican Republic, producing a direct economic dynamism in the localities and creating positive reactions regarding the care of the environment, indicated the Minister of the Environment, Orlando Jorge Mera.

He informed that the Marine Mammal Sanctuary, Banco de La Plata and La Navidad protected areas have been visited by 21,000 Dominicans this year, a figure that exceeds the Ministry’s estimates for this season due to the economic difficulties faced by families because of the coronavirus.

Data indicate that last year saw the highest number of visits to the sanctuary with the arrival of 71,261 people, of which 10,139 were Dominicans and 61,122 were foreigners. This reflects that Dominicans have been an essential part of the tourism reactivation.

After the closing of borders, airports and ports as a preventive measure of the countries to avoid the contagion of covid-19, Dominican tourism was severely affected, which impacted the economy, especially in the tourist provinces.

In Samaná, a boat trip is made to observe the species from a distance, while in Puerto Plata, because of its shallower waters, people can swim and get closer to the mammals, explained the Minister of the Environment.

The seas of North America are very cold, so humpback whales move to the Caribbean, which has warm waters to carry out their survival process. It is estimated that between 80% and 85% of the total population of North Atlantic humpback whales are born in Dominican waters.

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