SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Award season is in full swing and the Dominican Republic has been recognized as the "Top Destination of the Year, Caribbean" by Expedia.com, the world's largest online travel agency.
The prestigious award was presented by Gay Miller, senior business development director for Expedia's Business Solutions, and Demetrious Canton, Expedia's market director for the Caribbean, at the recent Caribbean Hotel Association Marketplace in Jamaica.
To decide upon the Caribbean collection, Expedia considered each Caribbean country's overall performance. The Dominican Republic welcomed a record 4.6 million visitors in 2013 and received a 33 percent increase in demand, making it the top growing market in the Caribbean. Since last year, the Dominican Republic has been one of the top visited destinations in the Caribbean for the US market, as 1.5 million Americans traveled to the country in the past year, equaling 34 percent of the total tourist arrivals.
Magaly Toribio, marketing advisor for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, said, "We are extremely delighted with the ever-increasing growth of visitors who seek our breathtaking scenery and captivating culture. The efforts of the ministry of tourism exemplify our commitment to a strategic marketing plan and execution to further boost tourism arrivals."
In response to the substantial growth, the ministry of tourism, Dominican government and the tourism sector have collaborated to capitalize on the country's tourism offerings. In 2013, the country witnessed an increase in room capacity, the addition of direct flights from major US cities, strengthened safety and security measures, development of well-known hotel brands, production of new attractions, modernized highways, cruise port developments and more.
Punta Cana on the east coast is once again the most popular destination for tourists in the country, as its international airport received 55 percent of arrivals. Las Americas International Airport in the capital city of Santo Domingo followed, receiving 24 percent.
Travel demand for the Caribbean continues to grow in the US, Canada, United Kingdom and Brazil, and 2014 is anticipated to increase even more.