D.R. Posted Strong First Half, Lots Of New Development On The Way

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

The Dominican Republic saw a 4.7% year-over-year increase in tourists between JAN and MAY 2019, reaching 2,988,155 visitors, according to figures published by the Central Bank.

Arrivals from North America saw the largest increase,accounting for an overall 8% growth in the first five months of 2019, including 2,285 more visitors from Canada.


The D.R. received a total of 675,176 cruise passengers in 292 ships between JAN and JUL 2019.

The Amber Cove port, in Maimon, which serves the city of Puerto Plata, leads with the arrival of 115 cruise ships.

Puerto Plata is working to attract more maritime tourists with a second cruise ship terminal, Taino Bay, scheduled to open in 2020 and attracting different cruise lines. The new port is currently under construction.

Increased Air Lift

Air Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing are making it easier for Canadians to travel to the D.R. this winter season. AC will offer new direct service between YQB and PUJ, while WG added a new flight from YXU to PUJ. TS announced the addition of direct flights from YVR and YHM to PUJ, and from YVR and YUL to POP.

New Developments & Projects

The Dominican Republic has a number of new properties in various stages of construction. In MAR 2019, it was reported that 6,200 hotel rooms are currently under construction, 8.7% of the country’s current hotel supply.

  • Marriott International has announced it will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in all-inclusive resort products. Of Marriott's five newbuild all-inclusive resorts coming to the Caribbean and Latin America, one is a 650-room Autograph Collection resort in Punta Cana, with opening scheduled for 2022
  • Palace Resortsis expanding its under-construction Moon Palace Punta Cana in the Macao zone with another 1,200 rooms, bringing the total room count to 3,350.
  • The all-agesHyatt Ziva Cap Cana and the adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana   – both newbuilds managed by Playa Hotels -- are set to open this winter.
  • The first stone was laid for construction of the Pure Salt Orchidarium in the northern Uvero Alto area of greater Punta Cana. Representing a $111 million investment, the 269-room adults-only resort will feature pools, five-themed restaurants, four bars, a coffee shop, conference space for 350 people and a giant orchid garden as its centerpiece. This is the chain's first resort outside of Spain.
  • AMResorts announced a new luxury project in Punta Cana which will be the hotel group’s fifth Dominican property. Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana will have 500 rooms and suites all with ocean views, six restaurants, seven bars and multiple pools.
  • Excellence Group officially broke ground on Finest Punta Cana, the group’s third Dominican resort. It will have 450 suites with 60 suites dedicated to families, over 20 restaurants, six pools, in-room jacuzzis and plunge pools.
  • Eden Roc Cap Cana has unveiled the new $2.7 million, 30,000-square-foot spa called the Solaya Spa and Wellness Center. The luxurious spa contains 12 treatment rooms with indoor and outdoor cabins, a 1,200-square foot anti-gravity yoga studio, aqua gardens and a freshwater pool.
  • Playa Hotels and Resorts unveiled a newly-expanded adults-only Sanctuary Cap Cana resort. The resort now has 325 total rooms, 5 restaurants, 6 bars, a large fitness centre and more.
  • After 15 months of construction,Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort, Spa & Casino opened its doors in Punta Cana in 2019. The 5-star hotel has more than 1,000 rooms, 7 pools, lush gardens and many amenities for guests to enjoy.
  • Three hotels announced plans to expand and update properties:Be Live Hotels opened its seventh in-country property, Be live Collection Punta Cana Adults-Only.Amhsa Marina has invested in updates to facilities and technology for its Casa Marina Beach & Reef hotel in Sosúa. Viva Wyndham is expanding its all-inclusive in Samaná, the adults-only Viva Wyndham V Samaná.

Puerto Plata

In 2018, Puerto Plata welcomed 407,568 tourists by air and 518,121 by cruise. This represented an increase of more than 18% in the arrival of tourists by air in relation to previous years.

Puerto Plata continues to be the country’s leading cruise ship destination since the opening of Amber Cove in 2015.


With the new Samaná Whale Watcher mobile app, tourists can report whale sightings at the touch of a button, sharing the information with scientific researchers. Whale watching season runs from JAN to MAR in Samaná Bay.

Santo Domingo

The Finance Ministry and the Inter-American Development Bank recently signed a CAD$120 million loan contract for the second phase of the tourism and urban development project for Santo Domingo’s Colonial City. The Colonial City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, remains one of the most visited tourism destinations in the Dominican Republic.

The first phase of Santo Domingo’s renovated Malecon is complete. The "Paseo Maítimo" or "Seaside Walk" features 3.5 kilometres of recreation, entertainment and improvements to the area.


Specialized Tourist Security Corps of the Dominican Republic trained 150 new agents to reinforce surveillance in popular tourist areas such as Bávaro-Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Las Terrenas, Romana-Bayahibe, Boca Chica, Barahona, Colonial City and Bahía de las Águilas.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.

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