Dominican Republic Enjoys Record Month of Tourism Arrivals Despite Hurricane Fiona

Suspended flights due to the hurricane traversing the country reduced tourism arrivals by around 45,000, but September was still a record month for visitor numbers

Cruise ships moored at Puerto Plata
October 05, 2022 | 04:19 PM

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Santo Domingo — Tourist arrivals to the Dominican Republic in September hit record levels, with 430,129 visitors, despite the unwanted arrival of Hurricane Fiona, which caused the most damage at tourists.destinations in the eastern part of the country.

It is estimated that, due to the suspension of flights because of the hurricane, the Dominican Republic received around 45,000 fewer tourists, but which did not prevent the month from being the best September on record.

To September, the country has so far this year received 5,334,291 tourists and, compared to the same month of 2018, which previously held the record, arrivals were up 6.48%.

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Of the total tourists to the country, 79.4% were foreigners, 341,716, a 36% increase against September 2021, and 14% more than in the same month of 2018. Of the total, 29.1% were of Dominican nationality, 21% more than in September 2019.

7 million tourists expected

The country’s authorities estimate closing this year with a total seven million tourists having visited.

Tourism represents 15% of the Dominican Republic’s GDP, employs 899,000 people, and is expected to generate around $8 billion in revenues this year. From January to September the sector generated $6.76 billion.

Tourism Minister David Collado has said that protecting tourism is protecting the ‘brand’ of the Dominican Republic.

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“The reality is that tourism in the Dominican Republic is growing and we will surpass seven million arrivals,” he said.

Cruise ship arrivals

In September, 50,423 cruise ship passengers visited the country, but which was 8,000 fewer than expected due to hurricane Fiona, while this year’s total to September was 806,241 passengers, while those that came in by air totaled 5,334,291, bringing to the total to 61. million.

But hurricane Fiona has not been the only drag on tourism numbers, which have also been affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to vice minister for tourism Jacqueline Mora, who says that 40,000 fewer tourists have visited the country this year as a result of the war

Visitor numbers by nationality

US tourists continue to be the most numerous, followed by Canadians, Spaniards, Colombians and British travelers, while the cities that supply the largest numbers of tourists to the Dominican Republic are Bogotá, Miami, New York, Lima and the Bronx.

Colombia is the country from which the second-largest number of tourists arrivals however, as 35% of visitors from Canada are actually from other countries, such as India, Mora said.