Tourism September 23, 2015 | 3:46 pm

Dominican Republic: Caribbean’s leading destination by far

Santo Domingo (PRNewswire).–Thanks to its efforts in the travel marketing space, Dominican Republic hassecured its position as the Caribbean’s leading destination by a wide margin.The destination giant draws in visitors with both its broad all-inclusiveappeal, as well as its boutique niche offerings in areas not yet thoroughlyexplored by tourists.

According to recentdata, Dominican Republic alone saw a 9.6 percent increase in tourism in 2014,receiving 5.14 million tourists, while the Caribbean as a whole registered atjust a 6.6 percent growth. With so much to offer in the country, Dominican RepublicMinistry of Tourism’s (MITUR) public relations and marketing efforts haveworked to showcase the country’s diversity in locations, activities, amenities,gastronomy and much more. Recent US marketing efforts include:

Event Partnerships:Most currently, Dominican Republic has announced it will once again beparticipating in the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, celebratingits 20th year Sept. 25 – Nov. 16 in Orlando, FL. The 53-day festival givesguests, their families and media the opportunity to awaken their senses throughexploring a global selection of cuisine, drink and more, along withexperiencing unparalleled Disney-style events.

Past events have alsoincluded sponsorships of Dominican baseball player Pedro Martinez’s Hall ofFame induction, the Miami Heat’s "Dominican Night," People in Español’s"50 Most Beautiful" event, the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders’ swimsuitcalendar and an ongoing partnership with the New York Yankees, among others.

Prime-timeIntegration: Partnerships with key high-exposure players in the prime-timetelevision space have exposed key audience segments to Dominican Republic’sluxury getaway options as well as to accommodation options for those that maychoose to own a piece of property in the Dominican sunshine. Features on TheBachelorette (Season 10), House Hunters International, Beachfront Bargain Huntand more have been optimal spotlights on the island’s beauty.

Niche In-countryMedia Experiences: MITUR is committed to giving media a first-hand experiencein the country whenever possible. This includes MITUR-sponsored group presstrips centered around a niche theme – such as adventure travel, family fun,ecotourism, weddings, wellness, girls’ getaways, "mancations,"historical escapes, haute cuisine and more – rather than general FAM trips –where media can explore the country alongside expert MITUR guides.

Up-to-Date Media andTraveler Resources: Regular improvements to MITUR’s website allow media and travelers alike to access thebest and most current information about the country. A brand-new hoteldirectory was designed for streamlined searches of a visitor’s best fit amongthe country’s 70,000 hotel rooms and also included a revamped press section andthe addition of multiple new languages. The release of the Dominican RepublicTravel App made it easier than ever for visitors to plan their travel andaccess maps, information, guides and more both on- and off-line.

In-country EventSpotlights: The country’s marketing team understands the importance ofpresenting information to media in a meaningful way. Leading industry media areregularly invited to in-country trade events to experience the island life andlearn from industry leaders directly.

This Oct. 7-9,Discover Puerto Plata Marketplace will show off all there is to experience inDominican Republic’s next up-and-coming vacation area on the country’s northcoast. Highlights include the new Amber Cove cruise port, revamped golf coursesand new adventure sports.

Highlighting world classdesigner golf courses easily accessible from many popular resorts, the DR GolfTravel Exchange brought together golf media and course operators Sept. 5 – 10to experience first-hand why Dominican Republic remains the top golfdestination in the Caribbean and holds its place as one of the best golfdestinations in the world.

This past April, theDominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) gathered journalists, internationalwholesalers, tour operators, incentive groups, airlines, and charters operatorsto learn about one another and conduct business with the country’s tourismsuppliers in a productive and organized business exchange setting.

"We are happy tosee success in our tourism efforts over the previous year and have highexpectations for our numbers in 2015," said Magaly Toribio, marketingadvisor for the Ministry of Tourism. "Our marketing teams work hard tofocus our efforts on reaching diverse audience segments to showcase all thatDominican Republic has to offer in addition to the beautiful beaches andrelaxing resorts it is so well known for."

Leading tourismgrowth, the United States remains the country’s single-largest source market,with 1.78 million US arrivals – and a 12.4 percent growth rate – in 2014. Theyear’s high numbers likewise indicated an increase in summer travel, showing an11.7 percent spike in tourist visits in the summer months, expected to trendinto 2015.

As highlighted bySimon Suarez, president of hotel and tourism association ASONAHORES, touristarrivals to Dominican Republic by air grew a whopping 30.7 percent between 2010and 2014 – a very promising growth for the country’s tourism-heavy economy. Haveyou planned a visit yet?

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