By Alexander Britell
Last month, we spoke to Ana Garcia Sotoca Pascual about the growth of tourism in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. We continue our look at the Dominican Republic’s varied destinations with a conversation about Samana on the country’s northeastern coast, which recently received a boost through new service from JetBlue. To learn more, Caribbean Journal spoke to Fabeth Martinez, executive director of the Samana Hotel and Tourism Association.
Where do you see Samana’s tourism sector today?
I think Samana is a developing destination, and we have growth every year — slow, but strong. This is really important for us, and we have the idea to grow more to offer another kind of destination [in the Dominican Republic].
What are some of the projects you’re working on right now?
Samana is not about big hotels, not about big projects. It’s about small, careful and special properties — we have a new port for cruises for the new year, and this is a really, really important project for us.
Last year, air carrier JetBlue announced it would be launching service to Samana out of New York City. How much of an impact has that flight had so far?
The flight is really important. But now, it’s only been a short time, so you can’t tell — it’s only been six months for the destination. And to develop the route, that’s a short amount of time.
Where do most of Samana’s visitors come from?
From the United States — especially from the United States, from Toronto and Montreal in Canada and we also have tourists from Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.
What do you think makes Samana unique in the Dominican Republic?
It’s because we have several things to offer tourists – it’s not only the hotel and the beaches. We have beautiful beaches, but we have the national park, we have whale watching, and we have a lot of nature. And we have several kinds of hotels — big hotels, all-inclusives, luxury hotels and small hotels — and we have gastronomy — which is really important to Samana.