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Dominican Republic Travel Surge to Generate Seven Million 2022 Visitors

Implementing a COVID entry policy that stages included state-funded visitor travel insurance during the pandemic’s early stages, the Dominican Republic is authoring a strong tourism rebound after hosting more than 2.2 million visitors in the first four months of 2022.

The Dominican Republic expects to host seven million land-based and cruise ship visitors in 2022 said government officials at the recent Dominican Annual Travel Exchange (DATE) conference.

The rebound comes following the government’s implementation of policies intended to attract visitors following the March 2020 pandemic’s outset, they said.

“We closed the best month of April in the history of Dominican Republic tourism,” David Collado, the country’s minister of tourism said at DATE, “with over 600,000 tourists, surpassing any April in the country’s history.”

He added, “We broke records [for] the greatest entry of foreigners in the history of Dominican tourism, 736,000 people. May will undoubtedly be the best in the history of the Dominican Republic’s tourism.”

By the Numbers

Reaching the seven million visitor threshold will bring Dominican Republic travel within close proximity of its pre-pandemic high-water mark of 6.4 million land-based travelers and 1.1 million cruise ship visitors in 2019, according to Caribbean Tourism Organization data.

Only the Bahamas approached the Dominican Republic’s 7.5 million land-based and cruise-ship visitors in 2019. The Bahamas archipelago welcomed 6.5 million total visitors (including 5.4 million cruise ship travelers) that year.

The Dominican Republic’s tourism rebound is supported by recent OTA data. In May, Expedia Group reported Dominican Republic summer stays grew 40 percent year-over-year compared with 2021. International travelers drove this year’s increase, led by the U.S., the primary Dominican travel audience, representing 80 percent of visitors.

Expedia’s report adds year-over-year Caribbean searches rebounded during this year’s second quarter. Punta Cana topped the list at 150 percent growth, followed by Cancun at 45 percent said Freddy Domínguez, Expedia’s vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Growth Pattern

The Dominican Republic has launched several projects, from infrastructure improvements in the historic capital city of Santo Domingo to new hotel developments and cruise port expansion in locations across the country.

Collado said new resorts are planned for Punta Cana, including a $175 million Secrets Tides Punta Cana Resort & Spa. “There are multiple projects in Punta Cana that continue to consolidate the destination,” he said.

Resort investment is also planned for Puerto Plata and Pedernales in the south of the country, with additional rooms in the Samaná district, Collado said. Meanwhile, the country will continue expanding its cruise facilities with an eye toward attracting more seagoing visitors.

“We have had a great boom in terms of cruises and we intend to continue expanding,” said Jean Luis Rodríguez, executive director of Apordom, the Dominican port authority.

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