How do you welcome tourists to Dominican Republic?
Francisco Javier García: Welcome to the land that has it all. We invite you to explore the unique offerings we are so proud to share with travelers: rest in one of many world-class accommodations lining our awe-inspiring coastline, try your hand at one of our 26 award-winning golf courses, indulge in both traditional meals and gourmet gastronomy, take advantage of endless opportunities for lush eco-tourism, experience an adrenaline rush on an adventurous excursion, take in the culture and history of Santo Domingo – the first city of the New World and much more.
What is the special charm of Dominican Republic?
Francisco Javier García: While the Dominican Republic is known for its captivating white-sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and ample opportunities for relaxation and play at the waterfront, our warm and hospitable people are truly what make our country such a wonderful destination for travel and to live.
What are your favorite spots, places, beaches and / or festivals in Dominican Republic?
Francisco Javier García: I love everything about this country. Being the home to nine different Eco zones, 1,000 miles (1,609 km) of coastline, 21 Blue Flag accredited beaches, 86 ocean front holes of golf, a world-class gastronomic scene and the history and culture that comes with being the home of so many firsts in the new world it truly has it all.
What is your personal hint to the foreign visitors in the Dominican Republic? What should nobody miss when visiting your country?
Francisco Javier García: From the white sand beaches and luxury resorts, to pristine eco-reserves and adrenaline filled excursion to world-class golf and baseball, Dominican Republic truly does Have it All. This makes it impossible for visitors to fit everything into one trip. My personal advice to them would be to plan return visits, and take the time to explore each area of the Dominican Republic and learn first-hand what makes our country so incredible.
What local dishes would you personally offer to a friend and visitor?
Francisco Javier García: Our coastal cities offer more than just stunning views and water sports; they are also gastronomical hubs with cuisine sure to please every taste. Tourists can enjoy any food to suit their mood, from artisanal chocolate to fresh meat and seafood.
The most iconic dish in Dominican Republic is la bandera, meaning “the flag” in Spanish. This quintessential Dominican dish is made with rice, beans, fried bananas and stewed meat such as chicken, beef or pork. It comes served with a lettuce, tomato and cabbage salad and can easily be found throughout the country. “Sancocho” is another uniquely Dominican favorite. It is a recipe that takes time and has many variations, but all are incredible delicious.
What is the nicest time of year to visit the Dominican Republic?
Francisco Javier García: With consistent annual temperatures, the Dominican Republic is an all-year destination. The annual average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius (77°Fahrenheit) and rainfall is very seasonal.
How important is tourism in the Dominican Republic? Economic and social facts?
Francisco Javier García: Dominican Republic is the leader in tourism growth in the Caribbean. We concluded 2015 with our most impressive tourism numbers to date, receiving more than 5.6 million tourists between January and December – an increase of 8.9 percent over the same period in 2014. Also this year we are on a growth course: From January 2016 until July 2016 we have received 3.662.878 visitors, which represents an increase of 6,88 percent compared with the same period of the previous year.
Simultaneous our economy is growing as well. In the first half of 2016 the economy has grown by 7.4 percent. This is the strongest economic growth in Latin America and positions the Dominican Republic on first place. In 2016 the offers in the areas of "hotels, bars and restaurants" have increased by 4,9 percent. In the past three years 55 hotel projects were realized: the range of accommodation enhanced to 70,000 rooms. Currently in 2016, we have the construction of more than 1,500 rooms under contract to keep up with the trends in visitor demand. We are quite pleased with the tourism growth we’ve worked diligently to inspire and are on track to meeting our goal of 10 million annual visitors by 2023.