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April 29, 2014
  • DR tourism report: US remains strong, Europe recovers
  • Tourists spending more, says annual stats report
  • Puerto Plata's travel fair set for 1-3 October
  • Gray Line introduces hop-on hop-off style tours in Santo Domingo
  • Melia expands investments in DR, focuses on MICE
DR tourism report: US remains strong, Europe recovers
Foreign tourist travel to the Dominican Republic in the first quarter of the year is up 4.9%, according to the latest Central Bank report. The Central Bank Statistics Department that tallies tourism data says that this compares to a negative 0.6% start during the same period last year. Total foreign tourist arrivals for January-March is at a four-year high compared to 2011-2014.
Overall, during the first three months of the year the country received 1,502,583 visitors by airports, up 43,995 passengers, for a 3% growth rate.
Most tourists (59.8%) to the Dominican Republic continue to come from the United States and Canada, despite a series of blizzards that caused many flight cancellations during the winter period.
The good news is that travel from Europe is up 5.5%. More Germans are coming, and there are increases reported for the UK, Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Poland and Austria, for 18,076 additional visitors during the period. This reverts a negative trend prior to October 2013. The increase in visitors is attributed to economic recovery in Europe.
Likewise, more tourists continue to come from South America. Stats show an 8.2% increase, or 9,284 more passengers. These have come from Brazil (up 22.2%), Argentina (up 13.2%), and Chile (11.1%).
The Central Bank reports that Punta Cana continues to be the main airport for foreign non-resident arrivals with 841,775 passengers (66.4%) The airport is followed by Las Americas with 186,031 arrivals (14.7%), Puerto Plata with 137,541 arrivals (10.9%), La Romana with 39,531 arrivals (3.1%) and Cibao with 37,742 arrivals (3%). El Catey in Samana and La Isabela in Santo Domingo accounted for the remaining 1.9%.
94.2% of the non-resident foreigners who visited the Dominican Republic said they had come for leisure and 92.3% stayed at hotels. Most visitors are in the 21-49 age range.
Tourists spending more, says annual stats report
The Central Bank 2013 Economic Report says that activity at hotels, bars and restaurants (tourism sector) in the Dominican Republic was up 7.6% compared to 2012. Revenue was also up 8.1% for the sector. The Central Bank attributes the increases to success with the Meetings, Incentives, Events and Conventions market by hotels in the Punta Cana area. Punta Cana received 63.6% of all foreign air arrivals in 2013.
The Central Bank reports that in 2013, there were 4,064,754 foreign tourist arrivals, which is 141,061 more than in 2012 for a 3.6% increase. Overall non-resident travel to the Dominican Republic by air was 4,689,770.
Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) received 2,584,871 travelers (63.6%), Las Americas International (SDQ) received 800,218 passengers (19.7%), Puerto Plata 353,857 (8.7%).
The Central Bank reports that tourists are spending more in the Dominican Republic. For the same average eight-and-a-half-day stays, tourists were spending on average US$124.89, which is up from average spending of US$118.36 in 2012.
The bank reports that non-resident Dominicans spent on average US$818.69 for stays of 17.27 nights.
Puerto Plata's travel fair set for 1-3 October
Puerto Plata is preparing for its Third Annual Touristic Fair this 1-3 October at the Puerto Plata Ocean World Adventure Park. The Puerto Plata Tourism Cluster is organizing the event, which is described as an opportunity to find out what is new in Puerto Plata, meet the suppliers of tours and hotel accommodations in person, and take trips to see new attractions.
For more information, contact Jakaira Cid at [email protected]
Gray Line introduces hop-on hop-off style tours in Santo Domingo
With the tour starting in Plaza Espana, tourists can now take the Gray Line tour of Santo Domingo, continuing through the 17 attractions, or getting off at any stop to take the next bus in about half an hour. Each tourist gets an audio guide and a map with the points that will be shown. The explanations are in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and Mandarin. A guide is on board. The tour lasts two hours, with a 5-10 minute stop at each point for taking photos. It starts at 9am and the last tour is at 6pm.
The company is starting the tour with three buses with capacity for 19 passengers each. The tour is for people of all ages, but children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
The tour includes the Plaza Espana and the Atarazana, the ruins of San Francisco, the Malecon, the Palacio of Fine Arts and the Universidad Autonoma of Santo Domingo (UASD), which was the first university in the New World, founded unofficially by a Papal bull in 1538, and officially by royal decree in 1558.
In addition, Blue Mall, the largest and most modern shopping center by the Venezuelan Velutini Group, the Botanical Garden, the Estadio Quisqueya, the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium, and the Plaza de la Cultura, which in itself is a unique experience including the National Theater, the National Library, the city's main museums, the Museum of Dominican Man, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Geography Museum.
It also includes the National Palace, Independence Park, the Model Market, the first Cathedral in the Americas, Chinatown, the El Conde pedestrian street and the Fortaleza Ozama. For more information, call Gray Line on Tel 809 466-1007.
Melia expands investments in DR, focuses on MICE
With 2,500 rooms in its Melia Caribe Tropical, Paradisus Palma Real and Paradisus Punta Cana hotels, Spanish hotel chain Melia describes the Dominican Republic as its major destination outside Spain, Rafael Torres, general director of Paradisus Palma Real announced at the recent Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE 2014). The company is hoping to attract more travelers from the meetings, incentives, conventions and events market segments with its new Paradisus Convention Center facilities. The hotel now has 63,000 square feet (6,300 square meters) of space with 31 rooms, for a leading position in the group market and luxury incentive luxury segment. The company is focusing on its improved culinary offering, and even went as so far to reaching an alliance with Martin Berasategui, the Spanish chef who has received the most Michelin stars.
General manager of the Paradisus Palma Real said: "Melia believes in the Dominican Republic, we feel at home. It is the international country, where we are best, where we are making most investments." He added that the stability of the Punta Cana destination makes them believe in Punta Cana.
The company recently inaugurated its new convention facilities with new state-of-the-art integrated technologies, including nine-meter high ceilings in its largest 2,000 square meter hall. The hotel has an agreement with the US firm, American Audio Visual for technical support for major events.
Torres said the company is working to push for more MICE segment travelers because there is no season for MICE, as these people travel all year long.

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