Key to continued growth in tourism investment lies in competitiveness

Santo Domingo.- Foreign investors in the Dominican tourism industry highlight several key factors that contribute to their decision to invest, including the country’s natural beauty, its rich culture, legal certainty, and effective public-private collaboration.

However, they also recognize the challenges the Dominican Republic faces in maintaining leadership in its tourism sector, especially compared to long-established and profitable Caribbean markets such as Cancun and Jamaica.

Abel Matutes Prats, president of Palladium Hotel Group, during the panel “Dominican tourism: vision of Spanish businessmen”, moderated by Simón Suárez of the Puntacana Group, pointed out that although Dominican tourism has made extraordinary leaps in competitiveness, it is necessary to focus more there only arrival numbers.

The emphasis should be on the value created and left in the community. The key areas identified to maintain leadership include tourism sustainability, territorial planning, the training of specialized human resources and the regulation of vacation rentals.

These factors are crucial to ensure that tourism development is balanced and beneficial to local communities.

Sabina Fluxá, executive director of the Iberostar Group, highlighted the growing influence of the American market in tourism investments, which has affected prices and rates in other Caribbean destinations that compete with the Dominican Republic.

Gabriel Escarrer, president and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, highlighted the fundamental role of air connectivity in tourism competitiveness.

He noted that flights to certain markets are much more expensive than to other competing destinations.

Escarrer suggested benchmarking to understand the position of the Dominican Republic compared to other destinations and attract investments that are sustainable and add value in the long term.

Encarna Piñero, executive director of the Piñero Group, highlighted the importance of Spanish companies setting an example in sustainable practices.

This involves balancing nature conservation, community engagement, and government collaboration.

To conclude, Escarrer proposed the creation of a strategic tourism plan by the government, joining efforts among tourism groups to outline a long-term vision for the Dominican Republic’s position as a tourist destination over the next decade.

This plan would focus on the sustainable growth and development of the tourism sector.

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