In the Dominican Republic, the inexorable rise of mass tourism

On a beach in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), January 7, 2022.

On a Hollywood musical background, in front of a giant screen worthy of a U2 concert, the Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic completes his show, between televangelist, commercial director and politician. He strolls on the stage of an “all inclusive” hotel in Punta Cana, the cash drawer of the Caribbean island, at the beginning of May, in front of 300 French bosses of travel agencies, tour operators, airlines. All under the spell of his presentation of a « success story mondiale », as he describes it: the spectacular rebound of Dominican tourism, which for six months has exceeded its historical records.

David Collado’s tone is becoming more and more serious to explain why, as of July 2020, the government preferred to reopen its borders rather than schools, despite the presence of Covid-19 and a deficient health system: “We took our risk, but with a great sense of responsibility. The Dominican Republic owes this success to having chosen life. Thank you very much with all my heart, thank you for believing in the Dominican Republic. God bless you. » Standing ovation.

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Organized travel specialists have reason to adore the Dominican government: in 2021, the island filled the planes and saved the accounts of tour operators. Until this winter, a client seeking sunshine without the risk of quarantine had few options. The easiest and cheapest? Punta Cana. The French took a bite: for the first time in history, a long-haul destination was the best-selling destination of the winter season. More than 100,000 of them have set foot there since the beginning of the year, half for the first time. The success will continue this summer thanks, according to the president of Travel Companies, Jean-Pierre Mas, “to the quality of the tourist offer, to the diversity of the flight offer with three airlines and to the very effective promotion of the Ministry of Tourism”.

Tax incentives

Its annual congress is funded by the Dominican Ministry of Tourism, already a sponsor of the World Tourism Fair, in Madrid in January. Meanwhile, David Collado has taken his road show to the main American markets, where more than half of his clients come from. Every month, the minister gives a press conference to boast of a revived industry, with record figures. According to him, the country will exceed 7.5 million foreign visitors this year – more than Argentina or Brazil before the pandemic. No crisis seems, for the moment, to disrupt this growth in the long term, whether it is a series of sudden deaths of American tourists in 2019, Covid-19 or the war in Ukraine which deprived the country of its many Russian visitors.

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