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Dominican Republic promotes Colonial City as a holiday destination

The Colonial City of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is now being promoted as a tourism venue. The IDB is financing many upgrades on the region in the hopes of strengthening the country's economy by adding new perks to Dominican Republic holidays.

Dominican Republic promotes Colonial City as a holiday destination

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is financing a programme to promote the Colonial City of Santo Domingo as a popular tourism venue. These upgrades and renovations will widen the variety of destinations to visit during Dominican Republic holidays, thus generating more monetary income for the Caribbean country and creating more jobs for the capital city’s residents.

The Dominican Republic’s economy greatly depends on its tourism sector. In 2009, 6.3 per cent of its gross domestic product and 64 per cent of its foreign exchange (worth $1.4 billion) came from the tourism industry. Furthermore, around 200,000 jobs depended on tourism that year as did 9 per cent of foreign direct investment.

The $30 million loan approved by the IDB looks to widen the net on tourism activities which are currently concentrated in beach destinations like Punta Cana, La Romana, Puerto Plata and Samana. This programme will help holidays in the Dominican Republic reposition themselves as one of the most appealing Caribbean options for holidaymakers, opening new frontiers that go further than the typical “sun and sand” offers.

First Church in Latin America, Santo Domingo
Image by: puroticorico, on Flickr

The new branch of tourism that’s being promoted on the country is based on the cultural and historical heritage of Santo Domingo. This new programme will include: the restoration of the Colonial City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the promotion of the tourism production chain, and the support of tourism activities, such as tours and sightseeing, provided by locals, who will share their culture and lifestyle with travellers.

The plan’s main goal is to make the Colonial City and its people play a leading role in the development of this new project, and become the receivers of the primary economic perks. Mercedes Velasco, head of the IDB project team, stated that this programme will make the number of visitors to the country increase. By broadening the range of diversity in the tourism sector and highlighting the culture and history of the capital, Dominican Republic holidays will combine quality with quantity.

The programme will develop tourism in the Colonial City with a comprehensive vision to ensure that growth in the sector is not only quantitative but above all qualitative,” she said “and that it takes place in an orderly and sustainable manner that ensures the participation of local people and good experiences for visitors.”

First Cathedral of the Americas, Santo Domingo
Image by: puroticorico, on Flickr

The project consists of three main components. The development of tourism in the Colonial City comes first; by financing mechanisms, goods and services they guarantee improvement in public spaces as high-quality spots for tours and tourist circuits. By improving and renovating some major attractions in the city, travellers will feel more compelled to increase the length of stay in Dominican Republic hotels and resorts as well as spend more on their outgoings.

The second component has local residents as a key factor. The programme wishes to integrate tourism development into the Colonial City’s economy, improving conditions for low-income people. Training locals in the tourism sector will provide access to pre-investment and investment resources for small businesses, helping them to provide quality services and this way increase benefits.

Lastly, the programme also searches to reinforce the Ministry of Tourism’s capacity for efficient planning and sustainable management and improve information services to the local and travelling community.

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