The Dominican Republic has been praised by The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for the recovery of its tourism industry in the face of the pandemic.
President Luis Abinader and Tourism Minister David Collado were awarded a prize on January 18 following two years of what has been described as “outstanding efforts and personal involvement”.
President Luis Abinader said that “tourism recovery was our top priority” in the Dominican Republic where the industry makes up 15% of the country’s GDP.
The Caribbean country was also applauded for its efficient management of health protocols across its travel hubs.
More than 200 travel agents, tour operators and airline owners watched on as UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili presented the award to the president in the presence of Tourism Minister David Collado.
Dominican Republic: A Unique Initiative
UNWTO praised the Dominican Republic as a true “best practice” in terms of tourism recovery.
A dedicated tourism cabinet took a unique approach for the island during the pandemic which involved the private and finance sectors. The initiative was overseen by the president himself with a focus on positioning the Dominican Republic as a safe destination with open borders for tourists from across the word.
Meanwhile the tourism ministry and tourism board have been developing a new multi-faceted marketing approach to diversify the tourism industry. This aims to cast a light on some of the one-of-a-kind experiences for different target groups, from families and food lovers to adventurers and curious travellers. The Dominican Republic has also created a buzz on social media after recently attracting more top level film productions.
This year is kicking off with a strong start with the country also set to host many top level cultural events. Thus the famous Cirque de Soleil will have a four month presence on the island between January and April.
Many new developments and experiences are also set to take place with the help of the finance sector. Three new water parks are set to open, a new cruise harbour is set to launch, more than 1,000 new hotel rooms are planned, as well as ten religious tourism itineraries.
Hotel occupancy has reached up to 90% and the Dominican Republic has seen its best ever three months in Q4 of 2021, even outperforming pre-Covid levels.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “There is no country in the world where the tourism and finance sectors have worked so efficiently hand in hand. “With these initiatives, President Abinader has saved 300,000 jobs.”
The Dominican Republic is also the first to benefit from UNWTO’s series of tourism investment guidelines focused on a specific country.
The new guide provides key insights for investors and aims to increase foreign direct investment in the Caribbean destination. It was developed alongside the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic and the national Export and Investment Center.
In particular, it aims to attract, promote and retain investment in sustainable tourism initiatives in the Dominican Republic, including those that provide local jobs and build greater resilience across the sector.
The guide showcases the potential of closer public-private collaboration and makes clear the importance of directing investments towards building new tourism business models centres on innovation and sustainability.