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December 15, 2015
  • DR tourism breaks five-million-mark
  • Lan and Tam fly from South America to PUJ
  • Vinci Airports acquires Advent's stock in Aerodom
  • Latin American Amateur Championship Golf in Casa de Campo
DR tourism breaks five-million-mark
For the first time ever, non-resident travel to the Dominican Republic has broken the five- million annual mark. Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia says that these are the best times for the tourism industry in the past 40 years, consolidating the country not only as a leader in the Caribbean, but also for Central America and South America. Garcia said that the goal set by President Danilo Medina upon taking office of reaching 10 million tourists by 2022 could be met before that year.
The Central Bank reports that from January to November 2015 the numbers are 5,016,106 non-resident visitors. Statistics show there were 409,059 more travelers compared to January-November 2014, with an increase of 8.9%.
The Central Bank forecasts more than 5.6 million tourist arrivals by the end of the year, with a contribution of US$6 billion to the economy.
The November report shows that 80.1% of the growth in arrivals was foreign arrivals or 327,666 passengers and 19.9% were non-resident Dominican arrivals, or 81,393 passengers.
During November, 51.7% of visitors arrived from the United States, Canada and Mexico, 27% from Europe, 16.4% from South America, 4.5% from Central America and the Caribbean and 0.4% from Asia and the rest of the world.
The increase in Venezuelan tourists was dramatic. Many Venezuelans are visiting to look into the possibility of relocating to the Dominican Republic. In November, there were 11,220 additional Venezuelan visitors, which is outstanding compared to the 10,816 increase in travelers from the United States.
Punta Cana International Airport continues to be the main airport of arrival, with 66.2% of arrivals, followed by Las Americas International (Santo Domingo) with 18.7%, and Puerto Plata on the north coast with 7.6%. So far this year, 248,478 more tourists have arrived via Punta Cana International Airport.
The Central Bank says that 94% of travelers to the country say they are coming for leisure.
Meanwhile, Arturo Villanueva, executive vice president of the National Tourism & Hotel Association (Asonahores) forecasts that the year will close with double-digit growth, well above other Caribbean islands.
Tourist arrivals this year include over 40,000 through the new Amber Cove cruise ship terminal in Maimon Bay, Puerto Plata so far this year.
Lan and Tam fly from South America to PUJ
Latin American airlines, Lan and Tam, both of Latam Airlines Group with headquarters in Santiago, Chile, began their weekly regular flights from Bogota and Brasilia to Punta Cana International Airport last week.
Brazilian Tam began operations from Brasilia on Saturday, 5 December 2015. Passengers will be able to connect through other Brazilian cities on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The airline is flying an Airbus A319 with capacity for 144 passengers.
Lan began weekly flights from Bogota, Colombia to Punta Cana on 1 December 2015. These flights are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays on board Airbus A320 with capacity for 174 passengers.
The airlines operate under the OneWorld frequent flier alliance.
Vinci Airports acquires Advent's stock in Aerodom
Advent International has announced the signing on 11 December 2015 of a stock purchase agreement to sell Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom) concession to Vinci Airports, SAS of France based in Rueil-Malmaison.
Including the six in the Dominican Republic, Vinci will now operate 33 airports around the world, including airports in France, Portugal, Cambodia, Japan and Chile.
Advent acquired the Aerodom concession in September 2008 for the construction, modernization, operation and management of the Las Americas (SDQ, Santo Domingo), Gregorio Luperon (POP, Puerto Plata), El Catey (ASX, Samana) and La Isabela (JBQ, Santo Domingo) airports in the Dominican Republic. Other very much smaller operations are the Arroyo Barril domestic airport in Samana and the Maria Montez in Barahona.
Traffic at the airports has experienced an average annual growth rate of 5% over the past 10 years. Overall, the Aerodom airports handled 4.3 million passengers in 2014, of which 98% were international.
The company did not disclose the terms of the transaction that are due for completion in the first quarter of 2016.
In 2014, the airport system served 4.3 million passengers, representing a 4.4% growth in traffic over the prior year.
Aerodom CEO Monika Infante stated: "The acquisition of Aerodom by of one of the world's leading airport operators underscores the importance of our company in the Dominican Republic and will allow us to operate at the highest international standards."
She estimated around 420,000 travelers are expected to travel through Aerodom airports for the Christmas holiday season.
The Aerodom concession contract with the Dominican government and the Dominican Airport Commission to operate the six airports in the Dominican Republic is valid through March 2030.
Latin American Amateur Championship Golf in Casa de Campo
La Romana's Casa de Campo will be hosting the Latin American Amateur Championship from 14-17 January 2016. The championship will be played at Teeth of the Dog golf course, the oldest and most famous in Casa de Campo. The golf course features seven holes along the Caribbean Sea and has been consistently ranked as one of the best course in all of Latin America and the Caribbean.
"It is a great honor for us to have been selected to host this prestigious championship," said Rafael Torres, president of Casa de Campo.
Casa de Campo was named the number-one golf resort in the world by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) for its collection of golf courses, professional facilities, luxury amenities, as well as its executive team's commitment to service and exceeding guest expectations.
This week's LAAC features 109 players from the 28 countries throughout Latin America. Television coverage includes two hours of live broadcast on each of the four days being aired in more than 150 countries.

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