The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism and the Technical Secretary of the Presidency have signed an agreement to help draw up the National Ecotourism Development Strategic Plan for the Dominican Republic. The plan aims to reduce poverty in areas of the country where ecotourism may be an option. The plan will be drafted over two years and is funded by an initial donation of US$3 million.
JICA will study possibilities for ecotourism in the country and will evaluate 86 different areas. JICA director in the DR Kiyoshi Yoshimoto says that the agreement will reinforce overall tourism for the country. Environment Minister Max Puig says that the Dominican Republic hosts four million tourists each year and that 700,000 visited the country’s national parks in 2005. He says that protected areas are a major draw for international tourism.