Tourism September 28, 2023 | 8:09 am

The four challenges that Dominican tourism must overcome, according to David Collado

Santo Domingo.- The Minister of Tourism, David Collado, identified four main challenges facing Dominican tourism for continued consolidation in the Latin American and Caribbean region. These challenges are infrastructure, security, investments, and air connectivity.

  1. Infrastructure: Collado emphasized the need to improve infrastructure to enhance the quality of tourism offerings. He mentioned road improvements in tourist areas such as Verón-Punta Cana and similar work in Las Terrenas and Bayahíbe. Additionally, renovation and construction of jetties in Santo Domingo Este and La Romana are underway to facilitate tourism.
  2. Security: Collado highlighted the importance of reinforcing security in tourist spots. He proposed the creation of a Business Brigade of the Tourist Police, involving the private sector in investing in equipment and resources for enhanced security. The Ministry of Tourism has already allocated funds for equipment and technological tools to address security issues, including those related to sexual tourism.
  3.  Investments: The minister stressed the need to attract more investments to increase the country’s hotel capacity. He mentioned the significant investments made in the Dominican Republic, including projects by international hotel chains such as W Hotels and Ritz-Carlton. Collado acknowledged the contributions of commercial banks and pension fund administrators in developing tourism projects.
  4.  Air Connectivity: Collado recognized the importance of expanding air routes to make travel to the Dominican Republic more competitive in terms of convenience and prices. He mentioned the efforts of low-cost airline Arajet in opening new air routes in South America to enhance connectivity.

World Tourism Day found the Dominican Republic in a privileged position, with tourism contributing significantly to the economy in terms of taxes and purchases.

During the World Tourism Day event, the Ministry of Tourism recognized the contributions of various individuals, companies, and institutions to the promotion and positioning of the Dominican Republic as a Caribbean destination. This included acknowledging figures in the tourism industry who have played a pivotal role in its development and growth.

The challenges and initiatives outlined by Minister David Collado reflect the government’s commitment to further develop and strengthen the tourism sector in the Dominican Republic.

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gerald lee dammann
September 28, 2023 9:48 am

Still no routes to the USA by arajet! why???

September 28, 2023 10:05 am

FAA requirements need to be passed.

September 28, 2023 12:09 pm

So what? The airline schedule in 2023 have increased by 20% more than 2019 total year. Other countries in the Caribbean are 8-14% down in flights available….

September 28, 2023 11:37 am

I have a couple personal additions to 1-4 from above from a regular tourist perspective:

5._Lower/eliminate the nuisance taxes.  The taxes & fees on my plane ticket to the DR is generally more than the airfare cost portion!  There’s a Tourism Tax, an Airport Departure Tax, an Airport Authority Fee, a Customs User Fee etc. Flying to the DR is pretty much more expensive than any other Caribbean or Central/South American tourist destination. There have been times I chose Mexico or Costa Rica to vacation just because of the lower airfare. My message to the Ministry of Tourism… Don’t create a nickel/dime perception with all these taxes. You’ll more than make money from the tourist once they’re on the island from ITBS and other expenditures when they’re having a good time but first you need to make sure they actually make the DR their first choice and when afar, the first thing a tourist does is check flights, and the cost.

6._Solve corruption issues that directly impact the tourist. In Europe or North America if the tourist wants to travel throughout a country and (and incidentally, creating more revenue), they can easily rent a car. They go online or to the car rental counter at an airport and get what they expect for the price they reserved it for etc. It’s a very professional and confidence-building process. In the DR the tourist ‘reserves’ a vehicle online, lands in-country and immediately the all-too-common gringo rental car scam begins. The car type you reserved “isn’t available” but they have a smaller one. Oh, and it’s double the price. And oh, and you have to take our grossly overpriced insurance etc.” The tourist eventually gives up and takes the shuttle/taxi/Uber to their hotel. The Ministry wants to develop the South. Well, for now the only way to get there is by car. So many places in the DR could be opened to adventure and eco/nature tourism but the tourist is almost always taken advantage of when trying to rent a car so guess what, they stay in their AI, never venture out (and spending their money elsewhere in the country) and the wealth remains concentrated in a limited number of AI’s and other spots. stead of spread out throughout the country. My message to the Ministry of Tourism… Almost all the major car rental chains are leasees in the DR. Hertz, Avis, Budget, Eurocar, Thrifty, Dollar etc. None are “company” locations so there’s no oversight of what goes on and the model is currently so corrupt that it’s about stranding the tourist in order to get them to pay grossly over-inflated prices. Tourist’s first impression in the DR is now negative. Ministry… you need to regulate this just like you do, say, the airlines. Focus on the end-to-end tourist experience.

7._Infrastructure. This was already mentioned as #1 in the original list but let me add, either improve or build at least one major road between major DR cities or regions that’s safe, modern, does not have traffic lights or other barriers to smooth flow similar to how the US did with its Interstate system. Allow tourists to get to every part of the DR – north, south, east or west whether by tourist bus or car, safely and without sitting in backed-up local traffic. The situation is much improved now than from, say, just 10 years ago but there’s still much work to go.

These are just a few of my thoughts from my personal tourist experience in the DR…

September 28, 2023 4:57 pm
Reply to  JimW

As a Dominican, I agree with your points. On the infrastructure part, I would also push for our government to modernize the public transportation network and expand it throughout the country. Work has already begun in building new rail lines and creating an integrated intra-urban transportation hub in larger cities like Santo Domingo and Santiago. This is a step in the right direction, although more needs to be done. In the future, I’d like to see at least two or three high-speed rail lines that can connect major cities like Santo Domingo, Santiago, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata…this way Dominicans and tourists alike can be less car-dependent and able to travel to and from different destinations in a safe, modern, and efficient way.

September 28, 2023 6:36 pm
Reply to  DCamp21

Excellent point DCamp21. I was driving on Duarte Highway last night for the first time in several months and was amazed by the support pillars going up for the metro extension. Definitely a step in the right direction. Anything that can lessen the need for a car is a huge plus. I would love to see rail to all the major cities in my lifetime, it’s the future and serves ALL people.

September 28, 2023 12:04 pm

Mr. Minister of Tourism, David Collado, what the Dominican Republic has achieved post Covid is simply remarkable. Not only the numbers within tourism YTD vs 2019, but what your industry achieved in putting people back to work….Well done Sir!

September 28, 2023 6:40 pm

I’m impressed with the quality of the conversations on this site. So many people devolve into name-calling, etc on other sites but the folks here are mostly polite and rational. Well done!

October 2, 2023 10:18 am

Amazing… no one has mentioned environment… Dominican needs a country wide campaign of education about garbage disposal. Dominicans used the street like a zafacón… someone the most amazing natural place which there are a lot is full of waste… a campaign to reduce de onde use plastic everywhere in the country, big hotels included. Strict regulation in natural areas, and even fines for non compliance…