DR1 Travel News - 3 September 2019



Chinese tourists are coming!
DR stands out for its air connectivity
Florida flights canceled for Dorian
Take a tour of Puerto Plata with Juan Luis Guerra's new track
Travel drops 11.2% in July 2019

Chinese tourists are coming!
Chinese nationals are authorized to travel here after the signing of diplomatic relations between the Dominican Republic and the People's Republic of China in 2018. Nevertheless, there has been skepticism as to whether the Dominican Republic will be able to attract a share of the 149 million Chinese tourists. New business actions may facilitate thousands of Chinese tourists traveling to the country. For instance, Chinese investment is buying up stakeholders in the Dominican tourism industry.

Thomas Cook has just agreed to sell the majority stake to China's Fosun Tourism, part of the Fosun International conglomerate. Thomas Cook is a long-standing vendor of Dominican vacation plans that start at United Kingdom airports. The BBC reports that the deal will put control of at least 75% of their tour business and 25% of the airline business in the hands of the Chinese giant.

In 2015, Fosun Tourism Group acquired the France-headquartered Club Med. Nikkei Asian Review reports that China is now Club Med's second-largest market after France, with 240,000 guests from the greater China region in 2018, up from 20,000 in 2009. Fosun Tourism chairman and CEO Jim Qian of Fosun says the challenge is still to lure overseas Chinese tourists to the beach. Around 149 million Chinese traveled abroad, but 80% visited major cities like Paris, London or Milan. Under Qian the company is building "an ecosystem" of family-oriented travel services, with the combination of Thomas Cook, Club Med and Cirque du Soleil services. He says thousands of Chinese have studied in Europe, where they have expanded their vacation interests. Fosun is targeting those potential customers for Club Med.

Nikkei Asian Review explains that Fosun's 939 million euros (US$1.1 billion) takeover of Club Med had been years in the making. Fosun has also purchased Canadian circus company, Cirque du Soleil for US$375 million and online flight navigator Skyscanner.

In the Dominican Republic, Club Med operates in Punta Cana and later this year it will open Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, a new resort north of the Punta Cana eastern coastline. Cirque du Soleil runs here jointly with Club Med. The company has announced it will be presenting its Bazzar show first at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana from 29 January through 23 February 2020.


DR stands out for its air connectivity
The Dominican Republic is ranked 47th in the world in air connections. The data is in the World Bank Air Connectivity Index that compiles data up to 2015. The Dominican Republic has the best air connectivity in the Caribbean region. The diversity of airlines landing at Dominican airports enables the country to attract visitors from all around the world. The multiplicity of markets ensures better resilience to the local tourism industry.

Ernesto Camilo, president of the Civil Aviation Board of the Dominican Republic, said the Dominican Republic 10 years ago was in the 62nd position. Camilo says that Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic has the most air arrivals in the Caribbean and Latin America. He shared the data at a seminar sponsored by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) held last week in Mexico.

"We are promoting an open skies commercial air policy to increase our air connectivity with traditional and non-traditional destinations," he explained. He noted that when named to the JAC in 2016, the country had already signed 40 bilateral agreements. During his term he has signed 37 air agreements. In the past three years, agreements have been signed with countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

https://www.icao.int/Meetings/ICAN2017/Documents/ICAO workshop - Connectivity and Competition.pdf

Florida flights canceled for Dorian
Hundreds of flights to Florida have been canceled due to the path of Hurricane Dorian. Passengers headed to and from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando have had to arrange for future dates. Airlines are offering many passengers the possibility of rescheduling their flights for free.

Earlier this month, travel to and from Puerto Rico and eastern Caribbean islands was affected by the storm, with dozens of canceled flights.


Take a tour of Puerto Plata with Juan Luis Guerra's new track
Juan Luis Guerra released his new track "Lampara p' mis pies," part of his forthcoming "Literal" album. The new track focuses on good music, dance and lovely sceneries in Puerto Plata. The images take viewers on a tour of Puerto Plata's Victorian city houses and its Central Park, the Isabel de Torres skylift and the Puerto Plata Amphitheater and environs.

Julio Almonte, Deputy Minister of Tourism for Puerto Plata, said in an interview with Z101 Digital on Saturday, 31 August 2019, that 1.7 million tourists are expected this year to visit Puerto Plata. He highlighted how Puerto Plata is the leading cruise ship destination in the country.


Travel drops 11.2% in July 2019
Central Bank statistics for July reveal that travel in July to the Dominican Republic was down 11.2% compared to July 2018. Incoming air visitors were 591,348, or 74,321 fewer visitors. The Central Bank said that the decline reflects results of a month of widespread press coverage of "unfortunate events" affecting US tourists in Dominican resorts.

Statistics show that so far this year, from January to July 2019, the arrival of travelers reached 4,542,015 passengers, that is 1.7% or 74,862 more passengers than for the same period in 2018.

63.1% of non-resident foreign travelers were from North America (Canada, United States and Mexico). 20.9% of travelers were from Europe. 11.7% were from South America. The Caribbean and Central America generated 4% of total non-resident tourists.

The Central Bank reported that 2,380,329 passengers arrived via Punta Cana International Airport for 66.9% of the total. Arrivals via Las Americas International Airport were 16.1%) and via Puerto Plata 7.7%.