As part of our ongoing coverage of the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE), Travel Agent sat in on a press conference hosted by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism and learned that the destination has had its highest growth from January to March than it has in any other year.
According to Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia, the Dominican Republic has received roughly 1.7 million tourists from January to March, representing a nine-percent compared to the same period in 2011.
"Our tourism product is more consolidated, it's stronger and it has better energy than ever before," Garica says, noting that tourism growth from the U.S. increased by 14 percent in that same period. "Some factors for the increase are our country's natural features, our gastronomy and the beauty and the second aspect is something I always mentioned. In every case what people liked when we asked them is the way the people treat them, the way Dominicans treat the tourists."
The Ministry of Tourism underscored the country's strategy to develop tourism infrastructure, announcing an investment of more than $12 million into 58 new projects. Other important developments include the Atlantic Boulevard in Puerto Plata that will connect the North Coast to the Samana Peninsula, the revitalization and development of major highways and roads, and new flexible facilities among the destination's eight international airports for receiving major airlines and charter flights.
In addition, the Ministry of Tourism's new territorial ordinances include a five-year plan that will help develop rural tourism throughout the country's 31 provinces. The plan calls for developing friendly guest houses that will have a minimal eco-impact on small villages and towns, but allow visitors to explore the areas' delights. Growing in popularity, rural agri-tourism in the country includes chocolate tours of cocoa plantations and other trips to coffee, tobacco and sugar cane fields that often end with visits to coffee roasters, cigar factories and rum distilleries.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates from our ongoing coverage of DATE, which runs through April 19.