DR named 2019 Golf Destination of the Year for Latin America and the Caribbean
Tourist numbers continue to rise
Tourism is 38% of all exports in 2017
Small businesses make Colonial City more interesting
Armada to train recreational boat captains and crew

DR named 2019 Golf Destination of the Year for Latin America and the Caribbean
Tour operators members of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) for the fourth time have voted the Dominican Republic Latin America and Caribbean’s regional best. The IAGTO announced the Dominican Republic as the winner of the “2019 Golf Destination of the Year” award on 18 October 2018 during the IAGTO Awards Gala Dinner that took place at the annual International Golf Travel Market in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

“We have worked diligently to establish Dominican Republic as the go-to destination for golf and are thrilled our hard work and breathtaking infrastructure is treasured by the tour operator member of IAGTO Latin America and the Caribbean’s Best Golf Destination 2019,” said Magaly Toribio, marketing advisor for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism “Golf is an integral part of Dominican Republic’s tourism, and we are thrilled that our golf offerings continue to be recognized by the international golf community.”

Professionals working within the golf travel and tourism industry – senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents and media professionals –vote for the awards. Votes are also cast by the public (golf tourism consumers).

The World Golf Awards says their voting works on a first-past-the-post system to ensure impartiality and independence. Votes are submitted online via the World Golf Awards website. The winners of each national award go head-to-head with the winners of the other countries for the “Best in the World” titles that are announced during the IAGTO Awards Gala Dinner of the annual International Golf Travel Market.

The Ministry of Tourism says the Dominican Republic is the Golf Capital of the Caribbean. The Ministry highlights that the 26 golf courses in the Dominican Republic add up 86 sea-facing and 39 ocean-side holes, with others located in mountain and inland city destinations.

The announcement comes on the heels of the country’s second annual Dominican Republic PGA Tour, March 2019. Puntacana Resort & Club and the Dominican Republic are preparing to host the second edition of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship 25 to 31 March 2019, on the resort’s 18-hole course — a Tom Fazio designed course with six holes set on rocky cliffs besides to the Caribbean Sea coastline.

Established in 1997, IAGTO’s membership comprises 2,751 accredited golf tour operators, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, receptive operators, airlines, tourist boards, approved media and business partners in 105 countries. The organization has an affiliation of around 700 golf tour operators in 64 countries.

Learn more about Dominican Republic’s world-renowned golf offerings and begin planning your trip at www.GoDominicanRepublic.com.


Tourist numbers continue to rise
The most recent report about the flow of tourists issued by the Central Bank shows that 57.6% of the foreigners who visited the country during the period January to September 2018 were aged between 21 and 49 years. According to the report there were 5,009.417 non-resident visitors who arrived in the period that is 297,931 more than in the same time period last year.

The report goes on to say that in September 2018 there were 365,368 nonresident passengers arriving who were foreigners and 64,452 nonresident Dominicans. This represents an increase of 16.4% of foreigners and 22.1% of nonresident Dominicans over the same period last year.

The report states that the increase reflects the fact that a year ago the country was impacted by the Hurricanes Irma and Maria that caused flight cancellations.

Nevertheless, visitors from Europe continue to decline with a 4% decrease over the first nine months of last year, mainly due to decreases from Germany (-39,966), Russia (-20,237), Spain(-11,211), Switzerland (-4,690) and Holland (-3,675).

The Punta Cana International Airport continues to be the busiest, with nearly 70% of all passenger arrivals.


Tourism is 38% of all exports in 2017
The impact of the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic economy is undeniable. The Central Bank says that in 2017 tourism receipts were US$7.18 billion, or around 38% of the total of goods and services exports. Tourism generates 25% of all the country’s hard currency. Foreign exchange receipts in 2017 were US$8.84 billion. The Central Bank says that a record number of 6,197,542 million tourists visited by air, and another 1,107,966 came on board cruise ships in 2017.

The data is in the “Importance and Evolution of Tourism in the Dominican Republic 2012-2017” (Importancia y Evolución del Turismo en la República Dominicana 2012-2017) study recently published by the Central Bank.

The data on tourism receipts does not include all the side businesses that benefit from the activities generated by the tourism industry, such as fuel consumption by airlines touching Dominican airports, direct foreign investment in hotels, taxes, airport fees an duties that the Central Bank lists separately under “other services”. Olga Díaz Mora, responsible for the study, said that tourism linkages reach out to the farming, manufacturing, energy, finance and insurance services sectors.

The impact of the hotels, restaurants and bars sector was 7.9% of the GDP in 2017, with an estimated 333,000 direct and indirect jobs, or 7.2% of the economically occupied population in the country. The Dominican Republic has the largest inventory of hotels in the Caribbean and Central America, with the largest concentration along the eastern Punta Cana coastline at around 77,119 rooms.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is ranked fourth in international tourist arrivals behind Argentina, Brazil and Chile.


Small businesses make Colonial City more interesting
Monika Infante, president of the Santo Domingo Tourism Cluster, says that small business is a major focus of her term 2018-2020. Infante is general director of the Aerodom that operates Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport and La Isabela International Airport and several airports around the country.

Infante said that the Colonial City is Santo Domingo’s leading attraction and their focus is to back small business in the area to complement the historic heritage of the area as a lure for culture-minded tourists. She said the recent renovation of the historic center is paying off in an increase in visitation. She says the enhanced public safety and services and the opening of new businesses have been well received and visitation is up. To strengthen the positioning of the Colonial City, she said efforts are continuously underway to improve the touristic experience, improving the quality of the businesses in the area.

Recognizing the quality of the Colonial City attraction, in the August 2018 survey carried out by Condé Nast Traveler for its 31st annual Readers’ Choice Awards, CN Traveler voters ranked Santo Domingo as the second most-friendliest city, only after San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.


Armada to train recreational boat captains and crew
The Dominican Armada, with the backing of the Association of Aquatics Operators of the East, will now be responsible to form and accredit crew of the recreational boats that operate on Dominican coastal waters. The objective is that all persons participating in touristic activities, such as maritime excursions and aquatic sports, be duly trained and regulated. The program is for boats that operate within four nautical miles of the coast.

The preparatory course falls under the director of the Merchant Marine School of the Armada, Frigate Captain Edy Gerónimo Soto Soto. The program will train mariners in safety of human life at sea, maritime safety and awareness in maritime protection that provides information on the damage caused by improper handling of water, fuel and waste. Likewise, participants will be trained in the handling of medical emergencies on board, the care and proper handling of visitors, and navigation techniques.

"This is unprecedented, it is the first time we have created and offered an official training program for recreational and sports boats crew, said Captain Soto. The training and accreditation program is being taken to crews all around the country. The crews will then have to participate in continuous education programs that will be given regularly.