Above: the Dominican Republic (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
PUNTA CANA — The Dominican Republic’s tourism sector is seeing significant growth from Russia, according to Radhames Martínez Aponte, technical vice minister at the country’s Ministry of Tourism.
The country saw what Aponte described as a “massive arrival” of Russian tourists last year, with a total of around 164,000 in 2012. That was the fifth-highest total from any source nation to the Dominican Republic.
That growth has continued thus far in 2013, with Russia overtaking Germany in fourth place among global source markets to the Dominican.
Aponte was speaking at the launch of the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange in Punta Cana on Wednesday.
The Russian boom is a result of stepped-up efforts in tourism promotion, he said, as the Dominican looks to new source markets.
“Right now, the Russian market is in expansion,” he said. “What’s important is that for Russia, for example, until two years ago, the only market [the Caribbean] had that was receiving Russian tourists was Cuba – and now we’re over and above Cuba.”
The boom comes as more and more Caribbean countries are courting Russian tourists, particularly Jamaica, which announced new service from Russian air carrier Transaero to Montego Bay last year.
Overall, the Dominican Republic’s tourism industry saw overall growth of around 4.95 percent in 2012, he said.