By Carlo Chancelien, Le Jetsetter
In 2017, the Tourism industry is bringing an average of 655 Millions of pesos (US$ 13.8 Millions) DAILY of the gross transaction in the Dominican economy, though the local suppliers… Yes DAILY, not a typo. This amount is estimated by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and is considered as a 40% of all revenue generated by the Dominican Republic in exportation this year: US$ 6.7 Billion.
When did it all happen?
Up until the 60s when Tourism was booming in Haiti; attracting the Hollywood celebrities and the world’s wealthy politicians, that industry was pretty inexistent in the Dominican Republic.
In 1968, legislation declared tourism development to be of national interest. In 1969, the National Tourism Bureau was created, which later passed to the Ministry of Tourism (Secretaría de Estado de Turismo). In 1971, the law 153, which spoke of incentives and the promotion of tourism in the country, was promulgated. In 1972 INFRATUR, a financial institution for the development of tourism infrastructure was created. These events served as a basis for tourism to have a starting point which would then lead to further development. Experts on the subject state that from the decade of the 1970s onwards was the period of development of tourism in the Dominican Republic.
From the 90s to today, the Dominican tourism has been developed and operated at its fullest, developing more infrastructures, through agreements between private and public sectors of the country. Consequently, the number of hotel rooms in the decade of the 80s was about 8,562 and the 90s was 45,000; now almost 80,000 rooms available for tourists’ stays throughout the country.
For the fiscal year 2017-2018, the Ministry of Tourism in the Dominican Republic gets a 2.2% share of their national budget: USD 27M, while Ministère du Tourisme d’Haïti receives a 0.5% of the Haitian budget: USD 9M. Tourism budget will go towards promoting the Dominican Republic as “THE BEST touristic destination in Latin America, ” and the other part will go into infrastructural development. The national budget of the Dominican Republic for the fiscal year 2017-2018 is almost USD 17B; 7 times higher than the Haitian budget…for roughly the same population on both sides of the island. Dominican Republic will close the year with a 5.1% growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP); making it the second fastest growing economy in Latin America, behind Panama (with a 5.5% growth) and the fastest growing economy of the Caribbean. Tourism and agriculture are the two most significant sources of revenue for the country.
Contrasts: Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two countries, with the same natural resources and the same geographic position; in the heart of the Caribbean. The main difference is that, over the past 30 years, Haiti’s panorama has always been defined by an unstoppable political unrest, due to a lack of leadership and vision by the politicians. Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, the leaders have agreed to define a concrete path to development for the country.
Recently, Leonel Fernández presented to the Dominican nation visuals of his plan for the country from 2019 to 2044 (a 25-year plan). He will run for office again, after being president three times already; and part of his new project is to put the Dominican Republic on the map of the emerging countries in 2044, year in which they will celebrate their bicentennial of independence.
Due to its political and economic stability, the Dominican Republic has positioned itself as a prosperous land for local and foreign investments in the Tourism Industry and a case study for the whole region.