The Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, Francisco Javier Garcia, published an article on a local newspaper in which he narrowed down the key elements for the sustainable development of health travel.
“Tourism is one of the most important activities for the macroeconomic stability of the Dominican Republic. The sector has become one of the main generators of direct and indirect jobs, the largest generator of foreign currency and direct foreign investment and currently, the Dominican Republic is the undisputed leader of the Central America and Caribbean region,” opens up the minister on the August 28th printed version of Listin Diario.
Javier García reaffirms the commitment of the ministry to the niche and highlighted its no seasonality and the fact that a medical traveler expends an average eight times more than a conventional tourist.
“Having already a consolidated leadership in the sun and beach segment, the next natural step for tourism development in the country is to integrate niche markets where we have important comparative advantages, such as health and wellness tourism.”
According to the minister of Tourism, the entity encourages the development of the following:
- An inter-institutional agreement to create the National Health and Wellness Tourism Board, to develop the legal and regulatory framework that organizes the activity.
- The agreement is signed by the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Tourism, Dominican Association of Health Tourism, Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic, and the Dominican Medical Association.
- Health and Wellness Tourism Guide.
Medical Travel adds to the presidential goal of Danilo Medina about receiving 10 million tourists in 2022.
Government management must also ensure education and training processes for providers, ensure the quality of services, as well as compliance with national and international regulations.
Sustainable Development of Health Tourism
In the article, Javier Garcia recalled that the Dominican Republic has the largest hotel infrastructure in all of Central America and the Caribbean.
Among other competitive advantages, the tourism expert noted the location of the country, the air connectivity with its eight international airports, and high-quality health centers.
Later, he detailed the actions that the Directorate of Health Tourism at the public organization is performing towards sustainable development of health tourism:
“Our action framework also includes the promotion of health and wellness tourism projects that have the required certifications and permits. The establishment of partnerships with public and private service providers.
Likewise, the Tourist Promotion Council has been one of the most important tools for attracting foreign and national investment.
Confotur tourism projects reached an outstanding amount of US$ 1,780.3 million, spread into 33 new ideas so far during 2018.
According to the semi-annual report of the Tourism Barometer from the Ministry of Tourism, these projects would be putting 9,247 rooms and would generate more than 18,000 direct and indirect jobs in about three years, in addition to those created in the construction phase.
According to the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, the total arrival of non-resident passengers by the end of 2017, which comprises foreigners and non-resident citizens, scaled to a historic 6.1 million.
That is an increase of 228 thousand (3.8%) compared to 2016. A substantial 96.4% were foreigners, and only 3.6% were non-resident Dominicans.
More than 3.6 million arrived at Punta Cana International Airport, home of the most renowned travel destinations in the Caribbean.
In mid-January, the Dominican Republic was selected as the #1 Caribbean and Central America golf destination.