Tourism is one of the pillars of the Dominican Republic’s foreign exchange income, along with domestic and free zone exports, foreign direct investment, and remittances sent by Dominicans living abroad.
It also speaks in favor of the tourism activity that it is part of a broad economic chain that creates direct jobs in hotels and indirect jobs in various companies providing services in the tourism sector.
Hotels, bars and restaurants are part of the so-called “entertainment industry” and everything related to it implies economic opportunities and foreign exchange.
Speaking about the recovery of Dominican tourism, which has suffered more than other industries from the restrictions and quarantines imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is necessary to compare the current results with those of 2019, the year before the outbreak of the virus.
The 2020 figures were not very positive, while the 2021 figures showed the beginning of a recovery trend, but nothing close to the 2019 level. With this in mind, 2022 is expected to be a year of full recovery.
Representatives of the Ministry of Tourism noted that in the first three months of this year, the number of foreign visitors and non-resident Dominicans who arrived in the country significantly exceeded the figures for the same period in 2020 and 2021.
However, it would be a mistake to ignore the performance of 2019, the year before the pandemic, which was also not good, since that year the Dominican tourism sector grew by no more than 1% compared to 2018. Regardless, 2019 should be the year of reference.
The Dominican tourism sector is on the path to recovery, but still far from the desired goal. In March 2022, 617,756 tourists arrived in the country, which is much more than 313,289 arrivals in the same month in 2021 and 270,049 arrivals recorded in 2020.
However, this number is 8.2% less than the 672,969 foreigners and non-residents of the Dominican Republic who arrived in March 2019, when there was no pandemic. The same is true for the entire first quarter – the period of the year when more tourists are expected to arrive. In the first quarter of this year, the country received 1,714,947 tourists. This means a decrease of -8.6% compared to 1,876,144 tourists admitted in the same quarter of 2019.
Tourism Minister David Collado, recognized for his high performance and continued work to rebuild the sector, highlights this year’s growth in his monthly presentation of Dominican tourism performance, comparing it to the first quarter of 2020 and 2021.
The war between Russia and Ukraine has caused the cancellation of flights of tourists from these countries who visit the country every year. In addition, there are other concomitant elements that affect or restrict travel from other nearby countries in Europe and even from the US as an indirect result of this situation.
Tourism is in good condition, it is in the process of improvement, but it is not in good shape yet. The industry has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels, and even when such a target is reached, the country will have to put in much more effort to start on a path of real growth.
Little or nothing is being done by presenting a statistical half-truth when the reality is that tourism is down 8.6% so far compared to 2019.