BAVARO — One of the Caribbean’s largest and most important annual tourism events has opened with a gala event at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
This week’s DATE, the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange, is being hosted by ASONAHORES, the trade association for Dominican Republic hotels.
The event is sponsored by JetBlue Airlines, which serves five destinations in the Dominican Republic.
Since its launch in the year 2000, DATE has been a fundamental part of the Dominican Republic’s tourism development strategy.
Recently, Dominican Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia said since 2000 the growth of tourism in the country has been 101 percent.
The Dominican Republic “will close 2017 with over 80,000 hotel rooms,” he said, nothing that the destination also had an 86 percent hotel occupancy rate for the first 3 months of the year.
This year’s DATE has drawn over 800 delegates from around the world, including buyers from all major source tourism markets including the major online travel agencies and travel sellers such as Expedia, Priceline, Trip Advisor, Travel Impressions, Cheap Caribbean and Apple Vactions.
All major hotels are represented this week, as well as destination management companies, local excursions and tours, airlines, government tourism officials, media and the press.
This year’s event includes “The MICE -A Meetings, Incentive, Conventions and Exhibit hosted in an adjacent location.
The event runs through Friday.
— Guy Britton reporting from Bavaro