TORONTO — Things are looking extra sunny in the Dominican Republic, which has just announced a major increase in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2016.
A total of 3,662,87 tourists visited between January and July, up by 235,792 compared to arrivals from the same period in 2015. Although the destination remains a favourite for visitors aged 21-35 (34.2% of all total travellers), the DR has seen an increase among older travellers as well. Between January and May, tourists aged 50 and older narrowly missed becoming the largest inbound market, representing 34.1% of all tourists visiting the country.
A total of 5,985,883 passengers have flown through Dominican Republic’s seven primary airports between January and June this year, the majority flying through Punta Cana International Airport followed by Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo. Tourists arriving at Punta Cana International Airport made up 66.5% of all foreign tourist arrivals for the first six months of the year, with 1,773,531 arrivals.
Among international travellers, U.S. tourists visited the country in the highest numbers, with visitors from North America making up 61.4% of all non-resident tourists.
The average hotel occupancy between January and June sat at an impressive 80.8%, surpassing projections by the World Tourism Organization. Hotel occupancy has exponentially grown, having over 70% occupancy since 2012.
A slew of new hotels and developments are slated for this year and next in the DR’s top resort regions. In Punta Cana, Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia Don Pablo Collection, the seventh hotel in Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort, will have a soft opening in November, while the Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection hotel will become an adults-only facility effective January 2017.
In Puerto Plata, sun-seekers are counting down the days until the grand opening of the Presidential Suites Cabarete, which will be part of the Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort brand. In addition, the all-inclusive Sunscape Puerto Plata Hotel was recently inaugurated in the Playa Dorada area, offering 585 rooms in a family-friendly environment.
As for the cruising segment, the Department of Cruise Tourism announced at the Cruise 360 fair that it expects 650,000 passengers to arrive in the DR by cruise ship this year, projecting a further increase in growth for the following season. Since its inauguration in October 2015, Amber Cove Cruise Port in Puerto Plata has welcomed 305,807 cruise ship passengers in just nine months of operation.