The Dominican Republic has experienced a sharp increase in tourism with a strong first quarter according to visitor volume.
Overall the country welcomed 3.81 million passengers between January and March, according to figures from its Civil Aviation Department.
This includes just under 1.3 million passengers in January across 28,781 flights.
The upward trend continued in February which saw 1,177,647 passengers transported to the country, which was triple the amount of visitors received the previous February.
President of the Civil Aviation Board Dr Jose Marte Piantini announced the official data for the month of February when some 1,176,842 passengers and 9,028 air operations were mobilised.
“These operations demonstrate confidence in the strength of the Dominican market,” he remarked.
The figures are even higher than pre-pandemic levels, marking a strong start to the year for the Caribbean island.
A total 266 airlines carried passengers to the Dominican Republic during the first quarter and this is expected to rise in May with the new company Arajet – a low-cost startup airline based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The island’s main airport remains Punta Cana, which welcomed 609,481 passengers in February representing 52% of the total market share.
This was the first time the airport had handled more than half of the country’s passengers.
But the country has also been working to promote other areas, such as Santo Domingo, which has seen further growth in hospitality traffic and new air routes. Santo Domingo Las Americas airport had its second-best February since its opening.
Meanwhile La Romana and Santiago de los Caballeros airports reached record passenger numbers for the month under review.
Other routes to the Dominican Republic
Corsair has requested an operating permit that can be used for scheduled flights between Paris orly and Punta Cana airports. The French airline carried 8,009 passengers on 37 non scheduled or charter flights between December 11 2021 and the end of January.
Piantini added: “Air operations to and from the Dominican Republic are not only recovering but are continuing to grow steadily, in line with the vision of air-commercial relations as the mainstay of tourism.
“This is a task being carried out by the current government of the President of the Republic, Luis Abinader, in conjunction with the other institutions of the sector.”
Permits have also been requested for the Philadelphia to Punta Cana route with operations expected to run four times per week from May 18.
Routes have also been approved via Frankfurt and Punta Cana, Santo Domingo La Romana and Samaná with Punta Cana. Operators include Eurowings Discover and Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS.
A further application from Swoop was also approved for scheduled passenger routes between Toronto and Punta Cana.
The rise in visitor numbers shows further tourism growth for the Dominican Republic which has been happening throughout the pandemic. The island had less strict entry requirements, including no Covid test requirement for US visitors.
It is one of few destinations in the Caribbean to have experienced such a positive recovery since the pandemic along with the Virgin Islands.
In February, tourism bosses in the Caribbean were urged to cut travel taxes to the area in efforts to increase visitation numbers from the US.
In a speech to the Cayman Economic Outlook Conference, former Bahamas tourism minister Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace warned that Caribbean countries were being priced out of the market compared to other US holiday destinations including Las Vegas and Florida due to “jaw dropping” taxes on international flights.
Speaking at a conference, he said that lowering the cost of travel from the US would boost the area’s tourism industry offering low cost options for US travellers all year round.
The former politician, who is now head of Bradford Baker Group, also suggested that Caribbean governments work together to negotiate the best terms for the region.
“The demand and the desire is there and all we have to do is make it easier and less expensive to get here and people will come,” he added.