Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism | 05 October, 2023
The Dominican Republic is combining traditional luxury elements with sustainable ideals in its sustainable luxury tourism strategy, which centres on consolidating its position as the top Caribbean tourist destination.
The island nation has been working closely with the private sector to introduce these ideals into its top destinations, such as Punta Cana-Bavaro, Cap Cana, Puerto Plata, Samana and Santo Domingo, as well as its new tourism centres, including Pedernales and Miches.
The Dominican Republic seeks to go beyond the many natural and cultural riches that have made it a tourism hotspot in the Caribbean by inviting visitors to be a part of its conservation efforts while enjoying luxury experiences. By leveraging both its natural beauty and strong tourism strategy, the country hopes to entice a record-breaking 10 million tourists to its shores by the end of 2023.
Dominican Ministry of Tourism data suggests that this new form of luxury will attract more tourists, especially from the UK. Of the 173,728 UK tourists who visited the country in 2022, 33% chose luxury getaways. After identifying upward trends in luxury tourism and sustainability, the Dominican Republic has adapted its tourism strategy to address both.
Celebrating sustainability in Samana
As part of this strategy, the Dominican Republic has been introducing sustainable tourism offerings in its established destinations, such as the Cayo Levantado Resort in Samana. This destination combines luxury and sustainability by promoting the local culture, improving the region's biodiversity and offering a space for visitors to connect with the natural environment. Samana is also the first municipality with a Sustainable Tourism Circuit, a business association dedicated to championing sustainability. Over 70 local companies have joined.
Sharing the natural paradise of Pedernales Province
Recently, the Dominican Republic announced plans to develop a sustainable luxury tourism destination in Bahia de las Aguilas. This will be the first carried out under a public-private partnership in the region. In the project's first stage, the private sector will invest US$700-800 million to build 3,000 rooms, an international airport, a 50KW renewable energy installation and related infrastructure.
This is not the only project taking place in Pedernales. After a US$98 million investment in the Port of Cabo Rojo, the Norwegian Cruise Line has its first arrival scheduled for December 2023.
Creating an ecotourism hub in Miches
Another key destination for sustainable luxury tourism, Miches attracted US$735 million in investments for new projects, including 3,700 more hotel rooms and 2,000 residential rooms. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is considering building a LEED-certified hotel in Miches, and multiple other major hotel groups have expressed interest in the area.
IATA | 4 October 2023
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the strong post-pandemic passenger traffic trend continued in August.
Total traffic in August 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 28.4% compared to August 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 95.7% of pre-COVID levels.
Domestic traffic for August rose 25.4% versus August 2022 and was 9.2% above the August 2019 results. This is largely driven by Chinese domestic demand.
International traffic climbed 30.4% compared to the same month a year ago. All markets saw double-digit percentage gains year on year. International RPKs reached 88.5% of August 2019 levels.
“Demand for air travel performed well in August. For the year to date, international traffic has increased by 50% versus last year and ticket sales data show international bookings strengthening for travel in the last part of the year,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Air Passenger Market in Detail
International Passenger Markets
Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 98.5% increase in August 2023 traffic compared to August 2022, continuing to lead the regions. Capacity climbed 85.5% and the load factor increased by 5.5 percentage points to 84.2%.
European carriers’ August traffic rose 13.6% versus August 2022. Capacity increased 12.3%, and load factor edged up 1.1 percentage points to 86.8%.
Middle Eastern airlines posted a 27.3% increase in August traffic compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 22.7% and load factor climbed 3.0 percentage points to 83.1%.
North American carriers had an 18.6% traffic rise in August 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 17.5%, and load factor improved 0.8 percentage points to 87.7%, which was the highest among the regions for a third consecutive month.
Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 26.4% compared to the same month in 2022. August capacity climbed 23.8% and load factor rose 1.7 percentage points to 86.1%.
African airlines saw a 26.1% traffic increase in August 2023 versus a year ago. August capacity was up 25.5% and load factor rose 0.4 percentage points to 76.2%.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Indian domestic RPKs rose 23.2% compared to a year ago and have now exceeded pre-pandemic levels for seven consecutive months.
Japan’s domestic market was impacted by Typhoon Khanun which caused major air traffic disruptions in southern Japan. Domestic RPKs grew 8.7% year over year, down on the 13.4% growth recorded in the previous month.
Air Passenger Market Overview
The Bottom Line
“Heading into the last quarter of the year, the airline industry is nearly fully recovered to 2019 levels of demand. The focus, however, has not been on getting back to a specific number of passengers or flights, but rather on meeting the demand by businesses and individuals for connectivity that was artificially suppressed for more than two years. Having seen the economic, social, and personal losses when airlines could not fly during the COVID-19 crisis, this industry is determined to secure a sustainable long-term future by achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. That was clearly evident at the first IATA World Sustainability Symposium (WSS) where discussions focused on how to decarbonize. We know that our customers want a world in which they can enjoy the freedom to travel sustainably. This inaugural WSS was a critical step in aligning policy makers, the aviation value chain and airlines with the concrete steps needed to deliver. And we will measure progress when we meet again in a year’s time,” said Walsh.
> Read the latest Passenger Market Analysis (pdf)
Forbes | Laura Begley Bloom | Oct 4, 2023
What are the best places to travel? If you’re like most people, the allure of new horizons and uncharted adventures keeps you constantly adding destinations to your travel bucket list. Kuoni—a Britain-based travel company— recently did a study to rank the world’s best bucket list places to visit.
Kuoni conducted the comprehensive analysis by scouring Google search data for 119 bucket list items in 219 countries. The results paint a vivid picture of travel aspirations, spanning from the breathtaking shores of the Maldives to the thundering majesty of Niagara Falls, encompassing iconic landmarks and awe-inspiring natural wonders along the way.
According to Sheena Paton, senior program manager, this is the first time Kuoni has assembled this list. “We’ve previously created travel stories that have analyzed the demand for different locations or the best landmarks to visit, but this unique study looks at every country's most popular bucket list item,” Paton told me in an interview. “We were intrigued to see how this might vary from country to country and which experiences would come out on top, so we decided to do this study to reveal what travelers around the world want to experience.”
Coming in at the top is the idyllic cluster of islands known as the Maldives—which is known for its stunning white sands, bright blue waters and incredible sunsets. It topped the list for 121 countries. “It’s great to see that a trip to the Maldives is considered a bucket list item for so many people,” says Paton. “It’s a tropical paradise popular amongst honeymooners, families and retirees alike.”
Coincidentally, in 2021 Kuoni looked at
In second place: Niagara Falls, which receives an impressive amount of searches each year, as people hope to get up close to the incredible waterfalls located on the Canadian and American border. “Getting splashed at Niagara Falls is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience which focuses on the stunning natural wonder,” Paton says.
In third place—seeing the Mona Lisa, with art lovers around the world flocking to the Louvre in Paris to admire this iconic Leonardo da Vinci painting. “It’s something that draws thousands of people all over the world just to catch a glimpse,” says Paton.
The United States has an impressive six places on the top 20 worldwide roundup—in fact, it’s the country with the most locations on the list. In addition to Niagara Falls, the experiences that made it onto the list include climbing the Statue of Liberty, seeing Times Square, visiting Alcatraz in San Francisco, visiting the White House and admiring the views at Yosemite National Park. “The vast nature that the United States affords travelers an array of travel experiences, from admiring natural wonders to iconic city attractions,” Paton highlights.
So whether you’re an intrepid explorer with an ever-expanding list of dream destinations or someone who just wants to plan the trip of a lifetime, check out this journey through the 20 most coveted travel experiences. But remember: This is just the start, since the more you travel, the more endless your bucket list will become.
Bucket List Trips: The Top 20 Places Around The World
1. Visit The Maldives
Topping the global list is the enchanting paradise of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. As Paton describes, “With its overwater bungalows, crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, it’s no wonder that this tropical haven is at the pinnacle of travel dreams.”
2. Get Splashed At Niagara Falls
Coming in at a close second is the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls. “The thundering waters at the border of Canada and the United States never fail to mesmerize visitors, providing an unforgettable bucket list experience,” says Paton. There are multiple viewpoints to witness the roaring waters—Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls—but one of the best ways to experience the falls is on a boat tour like the Maid of the Mist.
3. See The Mona Lisa In Paris
Created by Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa is perhaps the world’s most famous painting and hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris, among thousands of other priceless works of art. “Art enthusiasts and history buffs alike aspire to lay eyes on the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa,” says Paton.
4. Visit Bora Bora In French Polynesia
Bora Bora, another tropical paradise, ranks high on travelers’ wish lists. “Its overwater bungalows, vibrant coral reefs, and stunning lagoon draw visitors seeking an idyllic getaway,” says Paton.
5. Climb The Statue Of Liberty In New York City
“The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and opportunity,” Paton affirms. Best way to experience it: Climb to its crown for panoramic views of the city skyline.
6. See The Northern Lights
“Witnessing the ethereal Northern Lights dance across the Arctic skies is a natural spectacle that ranks high on the bucket list for many adventure seekers,” Paton shares. Some of the best locations to see them include Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland and Finland.
7. Visit Stonehenge In England
Stonehenge, an ancient stone circle in Wiltshire, England, has mystified archaeologists and visitors alike for centuries. Its origins and purpose remain a subject of debate. “A visit to Stonehenge allows you to walk among these massive stones and contemplate the mysteries of this prehistoric monument,” Paton says.
8. Visit The Taj Mahal In India
Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the world's most iconic architectural marvels and has been drawing visitors to Agra, India for hundreds of years. “It’s a testament to eternal love and architectural brilliance,” Paton explains.
9. See Times Square
Often referred to as “The Crossroads of the World,” Times Square is legendary for its annual New Year's Eve ball drop celebration. “Times Square in the heart of New York City is synonymous with vibrant city life and dazzling billboards, making it a must-see for travelers,” Paton insists.
10. See The Burj Khalifa In Dubai
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the world’s tallest skyscraper, soaring to dizzying heights of over 2,700 feet. Visitors can ascend to the observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors to take in “breathtaking views of Dubai's futuristic skyline,” per Paton, and gaze beyond into the surrounding desert.
11. Visit Pompeii
This ancient Roman city in southern Italy was famously buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Today, the remarkably preserved archaeological site offers a glimpse into daily life in the Roman Empire. “Exploring Pompeii's streets, villas, and amphitheater is like stepping back in time,” says Paton.
12. Visit Sagrada Familia In Barcelona
Designed by Antoni Gaudí, Sagrada Familia's intricate façade and lavish interior is a testament to the visionary architect’s creative genius. Visitors can explore the ongoing construction and admire the breathtaking stained glass windows. “It’s an architectural masterpiece renowned for its unique blend of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles,” Paton notes.
13. Visit Cinque Terre In Italy
Along the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is a collection of five pretty villages perched on cliffs connected by hiking trails and a scenic railway. “The area has stunning vistas and amazing hiking opportunities,” Paton emphasizes.
14. Visit Big Ben In London
Located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, Big Ben is known for its majestic clock face and melodious chimes. "This iconic clock tower is a symbol of British heritage and a must-visit attraction,” says Paton.
15. Visit Chichén Itzá In Mexico
Chichén Itzá, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is a well-preserved ancient Mayan city. It's most famous for the imposing El Castillo pyramid, which aligns with astronomical precision during the spring and fall equinoxes. "Exploring Chichén Itzá offers insights into Mayan culture and history,” says Paton.
16. Trek Through The Himalayas
From the picturesque Annapurna Circuit in Nepal to the mystical landscapes of Bhutan’s Snowman Trek, the Himalayas are a haven for trekkers seeking breathtaking vistas and cultural encounters. “Trekking through the Himalayas—a majestic mountain range that stretches across Bhutan, India, Nepal, China and Pakistan—is an adventure like no other,” says Paton.
17. Visit Alcatraz In San Francisco
Alcatraz, often referred to as “The Rock,” is a historic island prison located in San Francisco Bay, California. Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone, it’s now a popular tourist attraction. “Visitors can take a ferry to explore the prison’s eerie corridors, learn about its intriguing history, and enjoy panoramic views of San Francisco,” Paton reveals.
18. Visit The White House In Washington, D.C.
“A symbol of American democracy, the White House is open for public tours, offering visitors a chance to explore its iconic rooms, learn about its history, and witness the seat of U.S. government power,” says Paton.
19. Float On The Dead Sea
Set between Israel and Jordan, the Dead Sea is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. You can effortlessly float on its surface and also bathe in the mud, which is renowned for its skin benefits. Paton describes it as “a surreal and therapeutic experience.”
20. Admire The Views At Yosemite
Yosemite National Park, located in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, is filled with towering waterfalls, giant sequoias and dramatic landscapes. “Iconic sites like El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall offer jaw-dropping vistas, making Yosemite a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers,” says Paton.
Cancun Sun | September 26, 2023.
The Mexican Caribbean travel industry is booming – and so is the number of new hotels and resorts opening their doors to travelers in the sunny destination.
New statistics show that Cancun and Quintana Roo are home to the lion’s share of all new hotel openings in Mexico.
The local hospitality industry is responding to unprecedented travel demand by launching dozens of new properties; from towering all-inclusives in Cancun to more modest hotels elsewhere, some 5200 hotel rooms are currently under construction in the Mexican Caribbean.
As more travelers flock to the Mexican Caribbean this year, here’s the latest on the region’s ongoing hotel construction boom and what it means for travelers.
Cancun Continues To Be The Most Attractive Location In Mexico For New Resorts
Although Mexico is home to a handful of leading resort destinations, including Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, none outrank Cancun in terms of popularity. And this year, the crown jewel of the Mexican Caribbean is officially the most popular location for new hotels and resorts.
That’s according to new statistics published this week by Global Commercial Real Estate Services, a leading construction & real estate consultancy firm.
According to the company’s latest analysis, more than 7,700 hotel rooms are currently under construction in Mexico for three to five-star properties. Of that total, a whopping 4,000 are being built in Cancun, which continues to dominate the local travel industry as the most popular location for tourists.
Cancun’s Resort Zone is home to by far the largest number of hotel and resort rooms and the city’s inventory currently encompasses some 35,000 rooms.
With the Resort Zone reaching its limit in terms of new properties, new sub-destinations within Cancun are starting to see new undertakings, including Costa Mujeres and Puerto Morelos. Offering quieter beaches and more intimate settings, these destinations are poised to rival the Resort Zone in terms of popularity in the future.
After Cancun, the Riviera Maya is officially the second-most popular region for new hotel openings in Mexico. Encompassing a long stretch of coastline from Playa del Carmen all the way to Tulum, the Riviera Maya is dotted with an endless array of resort destinations.
The largest ones, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, both offer enchanting views of azure Caribbean waters and increasingly exciting cultural opportunities. While Playa del Carmen is famous for its vibrant city life, Tulum is trending for cultural and historical tourism.
Some 17 new properties are currently underway across Quintana Roo, and over a dozen new ones are set to join that list by 2024. All-inclusive resorts remain the most popular type of accommodation across the sunny destination, although online rentals and Airbnbs are quickly catching up.
The launching of the Maya Train in late 2023 is expected to massively boost Tulum’s popularity as a hub for exploring Mayan ruins. With new investments in infrastructure and safety, the Riviera Maya is set to become one of the fastest-growing hotspots for travel in the years to come.
Some of the most exciting projects that have recently wrapped up in the popular region include the St Regis Kanai Resort, which opened its doors to travelers in March. Boasting a unique blend of luxury lifestyle and pristine nature, the resort is one of many that immerse guests in the Riviera Maya’s unique atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the new Tulum International Airport, which is slated to begin operations this December, is also expected to supply new resorts with a steady flow of international guests.
David Jessop: Caribbean Council
Despite the Cuban Government’s best efforts to restore tourism to previous levels, data produced by Cuba’s national statistical office ONEI suggests that hotel occupancy rates remain low, and the country may struggle to achieve its projected 2.5mn visitors this year.
The Government said previously that it hoped to see the sector play a significant role in stimulating national recovery, economic growth, and playing a major part in contributing to foreign exchange earnings.
According to ONEI, the overall total number of travellers to Cuba in the first eight months of this year stood at 2.1mn, of whom 1.66mn were international visitors, a term used by ONEI to classify all those arriving who reside abroad, including tourists and returning Cubans. The hoped for international visitor arrivals figure for 2023 of 2.5mn compares with pre-COVID arrivals of 4.3mn in 2019, and 0.97mn in 2022.
Statistics produced for the period between January and June of this year indicate that hotel occupancy stood at just 28%, far below that of other competing Caribbean destinations. Although Cuba continues to believe that tourism will rebound and new markets such as Russia, Latin America and China will emerge, the weak arrivals numbers up to the end of August suggest that the country will struggle in the remaining months of this year to achieve the international visitor numbers needed to meet the Ministry of Tourism’s (MINTUR) plan for 2023.
While arrivals to the island continue to be led by Canada - Cuba’s most important tourist market - in the first eight months with 0.7mn visitors, recent Canadian government travel advice (Cuba Briefing 11 September 2023) may negatively affect high season arrivals when most Canadians choose to visit.
At 241,115 arrivals, the Cuban community abroad, a group Cuba categorizes separately, have for the time being made up for the loss of Russian visitors (106,529 by the end of August) following the discontinuation of direct flights in April, after the invasion of Ukraine and the introduction of western sanctions. However, arrivals from Russia are now expected to rise as Russian airlines including Aeroflot and Rossiya have resumed direct services, albeit involving longer flying times to avoid EU airspace.
ONEI’s figures show that arrivals from the US increased to 111,100, placing it in third position, but that arrivals from Europe remain weak, with Cuba recording 62,415 visitors from Spain; 45,318 from Germany; and 40,516 from France in the first eight months of 2023. Arrivals from the UK were recorded at 35,053.
The Cuban government recently indicated its concern about the impact of Washington’s decision to require all visitors to the US previously able to use its ESTA visa waiver programme, but who visited Cuba after January 2021, to now seek a visa if they wish to travel to the US.
Despite the weak arrivals outcome to date, Cuba continues to construct new hotel rooms - a possible factor in the low occupancy rates recorded - in the belief that the sector will recover in 2024 or 2025.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.