February 8, 2005
  • Carnival 2005
  • Tourism sector grew 4.8% in 2004
  • DR gets most air visitors in Caribbean
  • Best year for international tourism
Carnival 2005
Every Sunday in February and Sunday 6 and 13 in March there are carnival celebrations in cities nationwide. New and up and coming, the Bonao Carnival is competing with the Carnival of La Vega for the title of the best carnival parades in the country. Check out the Friday, 4 March, 8 pm presentation of the best carnival groups in Bonao at Parque Duarte. Saturday, 5 March is when the Gran Gala of the Bonao Carnival will be held to introduce those in Santo Domingo to the Bonao carnival color with the event scheduled for the National Theater at 8 pm. On Sunday, 6 March, the Bonao groups will participate in the Santo Domingo carnival parade. On Sunday, 13 March, Bonao streets will host representatives from several city carnivals from all around the country as of 2 pm. The La Vega carnival, the best known in the DR, takes place every Sunday in February, leading up to the 6 March participation in Santo Domingo at 2 pm.
Tourism sector grew 4.8% in 2004
Dominican tourism arrivals grew 4.8% during 2004, with 3,450,392 air arrivals (2,872,891 foreign air arrivals) and an average occupancy of 74%. This is despite the closing in fall of several hotels in the Punta Cana eastern area due to damages caused by Hurricane Jeanne in September.
At the year’s end, US arrivals had increased 7.6% (931,248 arrivals) and 8.7% more Canadians had visited (448,527 arrivals).
Tourist arrivals from Europe were up 4.0% (1,286,724 Europeans in 2004). The leading European source markets were France with arrivals down 5.4% (300,009 arrivals), Germany with a 4.1% decline (233,090 arrivals), Spain traffic was up 13% (228,035), UK travel was up 15% (197,954 arrivals), Italy reported an 8.4% decline (123,904 arrivals).
Occupancy was up in all beach destinations, according to Central Bank statistics. In Boca Chica-Juan Dolio, occupancy was up 3.74%; La Romana-Bayahibe reported a 2.1% increase; Punta Cana-Bavaro posted a 1.3% decline, Puerto Plata occupancy was up 15%; Sosua-Cabarete, 18.3% and Samana showed 8.2% occupancy growth.
DR gets most air visitors in Caribbean
According to the Caribbean Tourist Organization, tourist arrivals to their 32 member Caribbean destinations reached 21.6 million in 2004, up six percent over 2003. The DR had 3.45 million tourist visitors in 2004, by far the most of any island. This was up from 3.28 million non-resident foreign arrivals in 2003. Cuba followed with 1.9 million (few of them Americans). The Bahamas welcomed 1.4 million and Jamaica 1.3 million.
Cruise passenger visits grew an estimated 12 percent to just over 20 million, according to CTO. The Bahamas is mentioned as the top cruise ship stop in the Caribbean, with 3.7 million cruise passengers.
Best year for international tourism
The World Tourism Organization (WTO) announced that after three years of stagnant growth, international tourism experienced a spectacular rebound in 2004. According to the WTO World Tourism Barometer, presented to the media at a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand, international tourist arrivals reached an all-time record of 760 million - an increase of 10% over 2003.
Growth was common to all regions, but was predominantly strong in Asia and the Pacific (+29%) and in the Middle East (+21%). Double-digit growth was also registered in the Americas (+10%), while Africa (+7%) and Europe (+4%) performed below the world average, but still substantially improved their results of previous years.
2004 was marked by the strong rebound of Asia and the Pacific after the setbacks suffered in 2003 under the blow of SARS, by the return of the Americas to positive results and by the redistribution of overall tourism flows in Europe and in the Americas under the effects of the USD/euro exchange rate. The recovery of the world economy, and in particular of the economies of important American and European generating markets, strongly contributed to the very good results obtained in 2004.
The fears of the impact of the oil prices were overall offset as the year went by and such increases were being absorbed by the dynamism of the world economy and seem to have not affected the consumers' travel confidence, according to the WTO Tourism Barometer.
"As we foresaw in October, tourism in 2004 reached a record of 760 million international tourist arrivals and the best growth rate of the last 20 years," WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli said. "We are confident that the tourism sector is back on the right track after three difficult years and though still in commotion over the tragic events in Asia, the tourism sector will surely show again its extraordinary resilience and its ability to overcome difficulties by making an important contribution to the quick recovery of the affected countries".

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