The Dominican Republic has received more than seven million tourists this summer – predominantly from the US, UK, Canada and Spain. If the high numbers continue, it will reach a record-setting ten million by the end of the year. The Caribbean country is now South America’s second-largest tourist destination – ahead of Argentina, Brazil and Colombia – and the largest destination in the Caribbean.
As the Caribbean’s summer season draws to a close, the Dominican Republic celebrates another highly successful year as a top tourist destination. It has continued to exceed its annual tourism forecasts, welcoming seven million visitors in the first three quarters of the year – a 25% increase over 2022.
Just over 782,000 tourists visited the country in August, making it the best one in Dominican history. The Caribbean nation is now South America’s second-largest tourist destination, setting a clear benchmark for its neighbours.
The numbers announced by the Ministry of Tourism cement the country’s position as the leading and most popular destination in the Caribbean for global tourists. By the end of the year, the Ministry expects that number to hit over 10 million. It would make 2023 the first time the country has reached double-digits in its history, almost a one-to-one ratio of tourists to citizens.
- Over 7 million visitors came to the country between January and September – an increase of 25% from last year.
- More than 782,000 tourists visited the country in August, which equates to the best month in Dominican tourism history.
- Over 10 million visitors are expected in total by the end of 2023.
- The Dominican Republic is now the second-largest tourist destination in South America.
- The Dominican Republic has posted the largest post-pandemic tourism growth of any nation in the Americas, with 2023 forecasts at a 10% increase compared to 2019 – the last pre-pandemic year.
- The United States, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom are responsible for a combined total of 81% of tourism to the Dominican Republic this year.
- Over 1.5 million visitors to date have entered through the country’s ports, with the rest travelling by air.
- The average length of stay is eight days, according to official hotel occupancy data.
ForwardKeys, a leading tourism trend analysis firm, supports this bright outlook. Its most recent airline ticketing trends suggest Q4 will see significant growth throughout the Caribbean compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. The Dominican Republic is predicted to show the highest growth, at 54%.
In fact, the Dominican Republic has shown the most post-pandemic tourism growth of any nation in the Americas, with 2023 showing strong signs of achieving a 10% increase over 2019.
The firm’s results also confirm that the United States, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom are responsible for a combined total of 81% of tourism to the Dominican Republic in 2023 thus far. Hotel occupancy data confirms this, with visitors staying an average of eight days.
While air travel remains the method of choice for reaching the island nation, the cruise segment made a strong showing in the first few months of the year and has remained a key element of the Dominican Republic’s current numbers. Over 1.5 million people to date have travelled through the country’s ports, such as Puerto Plata and La Romana. Opening in December, the new destination of Pedernales will be open as well.
The Economic Impact
The country’s dynamic and growing tourism sector has become a key pillar of the Dominican economy in the post-pandemic world, primarily due to the foreign currency it brings in and the jobs it creates.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Dominican tourism sector will generate 17.5% of national employment and represent 15.3% of its economy by the end of 2023. And, as the sector’s supply chain is almost entirely (90%) made up of micro-, small- and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), its success and power are reflected in the country’s local businesses as well.
The Dominican Republic’s Tourism Minister, David Collado, commented, “The summer is always an interesting benchmark for our country. Based on our current numbers, we are heading for a new milestone. Summer is always a popular travel season with many attractive options offered by many European countries.
But despite the competition, the Dominican Republic has remained a preferred destination for travellers from both Europe and North America. Clearly, in addition to our warm climate, our security and great hospitality make us an attractive tourist destination.”
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