The Dominican Republic will receive 4,840,376 tourists at the end of this year, a figure still far from the 6,446,036 non-resident foreigners who arrived in 2019 (pre-pandemic year), according to estimates presented Wednesday by the head of the Ministry of Tourism (Mitur), David Collado.
Collado explained that between January and August 2021, 2,938,200 tourists arrived in the country and projected that, from October to December, “if everything remains normal within the pandemic”, 1,552,621 visitors will arrive at national destinations.
He detailed that last August 476,575 non-residents arrived in Dominican territory, a figure that is close to that registered in the same month of 2019, when 497,390 tourists entered.
“We are going to end the year at 4,840,376 (tourists), which is a number we could never have imagined we would be able to have in this 2021. We are giving clear signs that tourism is recovering in a sustainable way in the Dominican Republic,” he stated.
The official highlighted that with the normalization of the influx of non-resident foreigners, the Punta Cana airport once again positioned itself as the main Dominican tourist terminal, receiving 59% of the non-resident foreigners who arrived in the country last month.
This terminal was followed by Las Americas airport, which received 25% of the passengers arriving in August; Cibao airport, with 9%; Puerto Plata with 4%, La Romana with 3% and Catey with 0.3%.
He emphasized that 73% of the tourists who arrived in August stayed in hotels, adding that this figure represents an important percentage, since last year it was not so high.
In the same vein, Mitur Deputy Technical Minister Jacqueline Mora explained that in 2019 only 40% of tourists arriving in the country stayed in hotels, which allowed the Dominican economy to receive US$420 million in foreign currency in August.
“The average stay, which pre-pandemic years was around eight nights and that of Americans was five, we see that now that of Americans is around seven and the average is going to start to increase and in conjunction with this the occupancy rate, because the longer the stay, with the same flow of tourists, the higher the occupancy rate and recovery for the hotel sector,” said Mora.
Of the 80 thousand hotel rooms in the country, 20 thousand remain closed since the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, although 40% of these have not opened because they are being remodeled.
This was communicated by the official, who projected that by the end of this year the country would have practically complete availability in the main tourist areas. However, she acknowledged that there are still smaller hotels that are in the process of recovering from the pandemic.
On this subject, the minister specified that there are rooms that depend a lot on tourist sending nations.
“There are destinations like Bayahibe and Puerto Plata that live off Italian, European tourism, which are opening now; Canadian, and that is why the rooms are opening as the destinations are opening,” he explained.
Reformulation of Cestur
The Specialized Tourism Security Corps (Cestur) will be reformulated and will receive, with the participation of the private sector, an injection of more than three million dollars, as announced by David Collado.
He informed that the reformulation of the entity will soon be presented to the Tourism Cabinet, in order to provide it with technology and work facilities with the objective of reinforcing tourism security.
Collado emphasized that to date there has not been “a single case” of crime affecting tourism.