Dominican Republic is committed to continuing to strengthen relations with Europe at FITUR

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Dominican Republic is committed to continuing to strengthen relations with Europe at FITUR
Source: IFEMA
January 12, 2022

David Collado, Minister of Tourism of the Caribbean country affirmed that the Madrid fair is the most important space to continue strengthening regional relations, attracting investment and creating employment


Source: IFEMA

David Collado, Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, explains in the following interview that tourism is the present and the future of this country, and affirms that FITUR 2022 is the most important space to continue strengthening relations with this region, attract investment, create jobs and well-being and give a turn to the trend, in favor of more tourism, more investments and more profits for the Dominican Republic and Europe.

The Dominican Republic maintains strong linguistic, cultural and historical ties with Spain. How does this influence the exchange of visitors and tourists between one country and another?
The Spanish influence is very marked in our country. Not only our culture, our gastronomy, appearance and our architecture. Spain is the second destination of the Dominican diaspora, which keeps the two countries linked. In fact, 15% of remittances come from this country, exceeding 600 million dollars a year. To this is added that investments in tourism are mainly Spanish, representing more than 60% of these capitals. More than 500 million dollars are invested in new projects and renovations, which is a clear sign of the commitment of Spanish investors. 
Before the pandemic, some 180,000 Spaniards visited the Dominican Republic on vacation, which represents more than 180 million dollars for our economy each year. However, this flow is only 13% higher than 20 years ago, which means a reduction of almost half of the market share. Throughout the region there has been a trend towards the nearest markets or towards traditional products, which means that Spanish tourists seeking a differentiated offer are not concentrating their growth in the region. That is where our challenges lie, in a more diversified model, oriented to segments, inclusive, community, fun and closer to our roots.

What new tourism markets on the planet will your expansion focus on in the short and medium term, and what objectives of visitors to your country have you envisaged? 
For 2022 we have good expectations of recovery, estimating that we will already reach pre-pandemic levels. In 2021 we recovered 77% of pre-pandemic tourism, in an environment in which most of the countries performed even worse than in 2020. Canada and the United States will continue to lead growth, but Europe is a priority market for our administration , and Spain is fundamental.
The decision of our presence in FITUR as the host country is only a sample. Last year we participated in both the FITUR Fair and TOP RESA. We are going to strengthen the relationship with all the important players in this market, and at the same time we are in a strengthening of the offer.

What role will tourism, hotel and communication infrastructures play in the tourism development of the Dominican Republic in the coming years?
Infrastructure and new developments must be the basis for growth. We are carrying out an aggressive plan to improve the infrastructure of destinations, from urban, beach, and adventure destinations. Innovation is the cornerstone, both developing new destinations and strengthening existing ones. The diversity of the country's potential offer is incredible, it just needs investment and care.
In the north we are intervening on the beaches of Sosua, improving the aqueduct systems and treatment plants. We have one of the main water sports destinations in this area, and we are investing to promote it. It is in this area that an Innovation Tourism is being developed, where the Beach will be combined with the Cinema and entrepreneurship. A development never seen. In the Northeast, Samaná, we are carrying out a rescue plan for the beach, boardwalks, roads and planning. This area is very attractive to Europeans for its high ecotourism and adventure content, with beautiful beaches. This destination during the pandemic became the main recipient of cinema tourism, and we are going to promote this segment.
In the eastern zone, we continue to develop the Punta Cana pole, but we are betting on a new destination: Miches… virgin beaches, a sustainable and high-value offer. In the long term, the development of Pedernales will be an important differentiator for our country. An area of ​​high value concentrated in wellness tourism, protected areas and sustainable eco-systems, among others. In the City we are making a revolution: the MICE, Gastronomic and Cultural Tourism circuit is being developed. The second phase of the revitalization of the colonia area has already been restarted, which together with the Convention Center and the growing investment in gastronomy and rooms, will the city of Santo Domingo the most diverse and entertaining city destination in the entire area.

What attractions and tourist segments have you decided to promote?
As we have pointed out, we are diversifying, but certainly sustainable tourism, focused on community participation and with an innovative fair is crucial. We continue to bet on leisure tourism, but with a growing concentration on the creation of value in diversification. This year begins the entertainment offer never seen in the country, with a year full of shows such as the Circo del Sol, and artists from all over the world. Sustainability, Entertainment, Gastronomy, Congresses and High-end are the colors of our future. Every day more brands like St. Regis are interested in new destinations as a luxury destination.

The Dominican Republic has an important offer of beaches, leisure, gastronomy, culture, and nature, but also with a growing MICE proposal, with trips for meetings, congresses and incentives, and wellness tourism. How are you planning the empowerment of these segments?
As I mentioned, together with IFEMA we are finishing the details of what will be the New Santo Domingo Convention Center. IFEMA is a strategic partner due to its knowledge and vision of the segment. This year we have led the recovery of MICE tourism in the region, since we already have in the eastern area with a capacity of more than 14,000 recurring people. To promote this segment, a complementary offer is needed and we are starting the Dominican Treasures project, which consists of the development of attractions with a high indigenous, community and natural component. We have in the Dominican Republic one of the most important reserves of Ambar, being the largest producer of Ambar Azúl, the one with the highest value. The treasures are important and we are going to add them to the offer of the tourist experience.

How will you take advantage of the convergence between old and new to further increase the appeal of Santo Domingo?
It's fundamental. Combining the history that we have in our colonial zone and in our history in general, with a modern city, with an increasingly complete and rich gastronomy, with MICE tourism and proximity to beach destinations, seems to us the right way.

What will its participation for the second consecutive year as a partner country mean for the Dominican Republic in the next edition of the International Tourism Fair, FITUR 2022?
For us, continuing to strengthen our leadership is a priority. Tourism is the present and the future of our country, on it depend more than 700,000 workers and, therefore, at least 1.5 million Dominicans. Tourism is our brand and its growth potential makes it the most important sector in our country. This time we are going to focus on clarifying our plan, our models, strengthening alliances, attracting investments ... FITUR 2022 is the most important space to continue strengthening relations with this region, attract investment, create jobs and well-being, and turn the trend around. , in favor of more tourism, more investments and more profits for the Dominican Republic and Europe. 

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