Dominican Republic Shattering Records
The Dominican Republic is set to welcome a record number of arrivals in 2019, buoyed by new resorts and destination projects.
Already the Caribbean’s top-drawing destination, the Dominican Republic is poised to shatter previous visitor arrival records in 2019, buoyed by new resorts and renovation projects in popular tourist areas.
The country posted increased arrivals and hotel occupancy in each of the first three months of the year, and now hosts 20 percent of all Caribbean arrivals, according to Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism officials. The destination’s visitor arrivals reached 6.5 million in 2018, a 6.2 percent increase over 2017.
Hotels Drive Growth
The Dominican Republic’s booming hotel and resort sector is driving the nation’s robust visitor growth, as properties achieved a 77 percent occupancy rate in 2018, a 0.5 percent increase over 2017. Hotel capacity increased 6 percent in 2018, with 4,365 rooms added in regions around the country.
Sixty-five projects have been approved through 2019, said officials at Asonahores, the Dominican Republic Hotels and Tourism Association, with several new resorts opened across late 2018 and early 2019, and others slated to debut in 2020 and beyond.
New and Noteworthy Resorts
The Grand Memories Splash and Grand Memories Punta Cana properties opened in November, replacing the former Memories Splash property. Palladium Hotel Group’s adults-only TRS Cap Cana Hotel also debuted in November in Punta Cana’s Cap Cana district.
Meliá Hotels International’s Grand Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real opened in January, while another all-inclusive resort, the Grand Sirenis Punta Cana, reopened in December following a $30 million renovation.
The adults-only, all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana resort completed a multi-million modernization in late 2018, while the revamped, adults-only Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar reopened in November in Punta following a $26 million renovation.
Club Med’s $100 million Michès Playa Esmeralda resort is set to welcome its first guests on Nov. 30.
Last November Palace Resorts broke ground on a $600 million all-inclusive Moon Palace Punta Cana resort in the district’s Macao area; the property is scheduled to open in 2021. Also under construction in Punta Cana are side-by-side all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva resorts.
Beyond Punta Cana
As the nation’s hotel inventory grows, government and tourism leaders have focused on developing and promoting regions beyond the Punta Cana resort district. For example, the capital city of Santo Domingo is in the midst of the second phase of a sweeping renovation project.
Santo Domingo’s city council is following up the historic district’s renovation with a plan to open the city’s Malecon (seafront walkway) with a bike path, recreation areas and access for individuals with disabilities.
The revamped district will “attract a large number of national and international visitors, who enjoy a cultural and activity agenda in the oldest city of the American continent,” said Roberto Henriquez, president of the Hotel Association of Santo Domingo.
The completion of building, renovation and expansion projects in the past four years has connected the country’s major tourist areas, Ministry officials said.