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Popularity of Dominican Republic holidays expected to generate record tourism income

With the global economy in crisis, the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean's top tourism destination is expected to set a new record in tourism income. Nearly 5 million visitors took Dominican Republic holidays in 2011, topping the record set the past year.

Popularity of Dominican Republic holidays expected to generate record tourism income

Even with the unstable state of international economy, the idea of resting and relaxing a few days on a Caribbean beach is still very popular to holidaymakers, overall to American tourists. The Dominican Republic, the Caribbean’s top tourism destination is expecting to top last year’s records in tourism income. Almost 5 million visitors took holidays in the Dominican Republic on 2011, breaking 2010’s record.

Scott Sperling, senior economist at Pennsylvania-based Tourism Economics is in charge of foretelling travel patterns around the world. He expresses that even when the global recession is having repercussions on the international tourism industry, Dominican Republic holidays grow even more popular. “The global economy is clearly having an effect on tourism but the Dominican Republic is trending higher. It’s a growing and developing destination,” he says.

Tourism economists just analysed its global tourism forecast to be descending. Even when tourist travel will grow, it will only increase by 2.5% this year, according to Sperling. However these economic struggles seem to be favouring the Dominican Republic.

“We are attracting the [U.S.] tourists who are not going to Europe because it’s far more expensive,” said Humberto Ozoria, spokesman for the Dominican Ministry of Tourism.

Sperling reckons that the total number of visitors arriving to the country by airplane or cruise ship is expected to grow by 4.7 per cent this year and increase by an enormous 5.7 per cent in 2012.

“Because of the economic situation, Americans that used to travel to long-haul destinations have shifted their preferences to travelling to closer destinations,” the Ministry of Tourism declared.

 Dominican Republic
Image by: 65mb, on Flickr

For Americans, Dominican Republic holidays are ideal for organising a quick and enjoyable time on a Caribbean beach. The country’s proximity to the U.S. allows flights from Miami to arrive in less than two hours to La Hispaniola (the island the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti).

The government is trying to cash in on this closeness by advertising the slogan “Closer than you think”. One is its television commercials show a woman dressed up for chilly weather in a busy city looking into a vehicle’s side-view mirror which reads: “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Abruptly she and her family are transported to a stunning beach full of palm trees and sights like Santo Domingo’s colonial quarter and a magnificent golf course are illustrated.

Maria Bruno, an American woman who works as a waitress, caught a flight from New Jersey to the Caribbean island inspired by a cheap hotel rate online, and was enjoying the sun in the Dominican beach only a few hours later. “It’s easy,” she said, while shopping in Santo Domingo “You get here and it’s taken care of, even with the economy the way is, you still want to get away, especially before the winter.”

 Dominican Republic Hotels
Image by: ankuv, on Flickr

Tim Mullen, president of Apple Vacations, the largest U.S. operator of tours to the Dominican Republic, states that American travellers are focusing on shorter trips and attractive prices. One of the most appealing features for Americans is the great value of Dominican Republic hotels. The country’s all/inclusive resorts, surrounded by stunning beachfronts can lodge visitors for as little as $50 a day per person, allowing them to hop from buffet to bar, pool to sea taking in a session of water aerobics or beach volleyball.

The country has always been the best value in the Caribbean; the all-inclusive values make it more popular than ever,” Mullen said.

Tourism is of great importance to the Dominican Republic’s economy, predicted to grow by 5 per cent this year according to the Central Bank. Tourism supports 250,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, and tourists spent roughly $4.5 billion last year according to industry figures.

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