November 25, 2003
  • More Canadian scheduled air service
  • US & Canada travel boom
  • European travel report
  • Travel to the DR up 21.6%
  • Punta Cana continues to lead
  • Maritime tourism up, too
More Canadian scheduled air service
Charter operators Air Transat, Skyservice Airlines and Zoom Airlines will be following in the footsteps of Air Canada and commencing direct scheduled flights to the Dominican Republic from Canada this year. Air Transat of Montreal told Canadian Press that the deal means it will simply change its charter services into scheduled flights without adding capacity. The decision allows the airline to sell tickets in the Dominican Republic and transport passengers back to Canada on tickets bought in the Dominican Republic. Air Transat spokeswoman Rachel Andrews announced the service would start in mid-December. Air Transat is the leading Canadian charter airline. They operate between Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
Skyservice Airlines of Toronto offers service to Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. And Ottawa-based Zoom Airlines would fly to Halifax and Ottawa.
US & Canada travel boom
Central Bank travel statistics show that travel from the United States is up 25% for the first ten months of the year. Some 729,471 foreign non-resident arrivals passed through Dominican airports from January to October 2003, compared to 581,441 for the same period in 2002 or 147,030 more travelers. US foreign arrivals made up 31% of foreign arrivals this year.
Canadian travel is also up by 86,849 travelers for the first 10 months of the year. Central Bank statistics show that 330,858 Canadian travelers have visited this year, up from 244,009 for the same period in 2002. Canada is only second to the US in number of foreign travelers to the Dominican Republic.
Puerto Rican travel is also up considerably. Statistics show that 50,370 Puerto Ricans came this year, up from 29,316 for the first 10 months in 2002, for a 72% increase.
European travel report
Most European countries are showing significant increases in travel to the Dominican Republic for the first ten months of the year. Overall, 22.4% more Europeans have visited this year. According to the Central Bank January to October 2003 statistical report, traffic is up for all reported countries, with the exception of Sweden.
Travel from Europe is boosted by the strong Euro. European travelers are getting upwards of 45 Euros to the peso, an appreciation of about 25% over the exchange rate for the start of the year. Europeans that have cashed in Europe to US dollars, are reaping even higher returns on their currency.
The biggest increases in European traffic have come from France. There were 193,465 arrivals from France during the first 10 months in 2002, and this is up to 260,443 arrivals for 2003, or 66,978 more, for a 35% increase.
Germany is the second largest European source market for the Dominican Republic, but the number of Germans remained relatively the same. German traffic increased only 1.5% from 197,861 for the period in 2002 to 200,754 for 2003.
Spain was third with 110,430 arrivals for the first ten months of 2002 to a robust 170,807 arrivals from January-October 2003, or 60,377 more arrivals, a 55% increase. The United Kingdom is the fourth largest source market from Europe, with 141,799 travelers this year, compared to 122,778 last year, or 19,021 more for a 16% increase. From Italy, 20,196 travelers came, bringing the total of Italians so far this year to 111,193 for a 22% increase.
Travel to the DR up 21.6%
Central Bank statistics indicate travel to the Dominican Republic is up to a record 2,285,054 foreign air arrivals for the first ten months of the year. This is a 21.6% increase for the January to October period. Traffic to the DR is outpacing the increases to other Caribbean destinations. The depreciation of the Dominican peso is making the DR an even better value-for-money destination, especially for shopping and dining out at restaurants. This is so as most hotel rooms were already transacted in US$ months before the new depreciation of the peso.
Central Bank statistics indicate that 2,688,902 non-resident foreign air arrivals came during the first 10 months of 2003. this takes into account the 403,848 non-resident Dominicans that visited during this period. Many of these non-resident Dominican stay at hotels.
Punta Cana continues to lead
Punta Cana continues to receive the most foreign tourist air arrivals. Punta Cana International Airport statistics show that 1,071,226 passengers arrived by that eastern port of entry. This year, the Punta Cana terminal alone has received 293,339 more tourists. 99% of Punta Cana International Airport arrivals are foreign tourists. This is 46.8% of all foreign air arrivals to any Dominican airport. Las Americas (Santo Domingo) is next with 22%, Puerto Plata follows with 18.4%, La Romana with 9.2% and Cibao with 3.2%.
Maritime tourism up, too
Some 113,814 more tourists visited this year by cruise ship than last year. According to the Central Bank, the Port of La Romana received the most traffic, with 180,225 arrivals, some 99,728 more than last year. Samana port received 18,541 maritime arrivals, up from 2,376 last year. Activity in Puerto Plata was slightly up, with 1,936 more arrivals, or 3,108 maritime arrivals. Traffic to Santo Domingo ports declined, nevertheless, from 98,244 during the first 10 months of 2002 to 94,229 for the same period in 2003.

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