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“The Multi-Destination Modality Will Not Be Possible Without Finding A Solution To The Issue Of Connectivity”

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“The Multi-Destination Modality Will Not Be Possible Without Finding A Solution To The Issue Of Connectivity”
Santo Domingo, May 25 2015

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The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Radhamés Martínez Aponte, warned that the issue of the multi-destination may not become a reality until a comprehensive action is undertaken in the Caribbean region in terms of air and ground connectivity, reports Cicom.

Martínez Aponte addressed the topic “La Conectividad Aérea & Terrestre y Facilitación de los Viajes en los Esquemas de Integración Regional” (Air and Ground Connectivity and Travel Facilitation in the Regional Integration Schemes) in the framework of the international seminar “Multi-Destination Opportunities for Regional Integration”, held at the Karibe Port-au-Prince hotel, in Haiti. The delegation of the Ministry of Tourism also included Gustavo Ricart. Manuel Quiterio Cedeño participated on behalf of ASONAHORES.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism said that the Dominican Republic is one of the most open destinations in the world, “after the adoption decades ago of the tourist card policy, which is the equivalent to a visa upon arrival.”

He added that at present, the policy applies to citizens of 146 countries and that another 102 nationalities require a visa, although they may enter the country with a tourist card if they hold visas for the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom or Canada.

“Both, the connectivity and the visa facilitation, are key factors to integration and multi-destinations,” said the Deputy Minister of Tourism.

Martínez Aponte emphasized that, despite not having a national air transportation industry, the country has been able to develop a tourism that is leader in the Caribbean, thanks to the open skies policy.

“For this reason, it ranks third in Latin America and the Caribbean in the Air Connectivity Index and, according to the TTCI 2015, it ranks 32nd globally in the number of operating airlines,” according to the 2015 Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, said the official from the Ministry of Tourism.

He insisted that the country’s success as a tourist destination is due to the open skies policy that has been implemented and the excellent airport infrastructure the country has in various areas of the national territory.

Martínez Aponte explained that, although from the perspective of the private sector the high cost of air transportation in both Central America and the Caribbean is attributed to rates, airport charges and taxes, “the prices, flight routes and flight availability are much more important factors.”

In his view, the market for multi-destinations exists and will continue to exist, although it will remain a small niche.

“Assuming that in Central America and the Caribbean the conditions for multi-destinations exist, namely a high intra-regional connectivity, that no visas are required and that the transportation rates are competitive, it would also be required that the destinations offering multi-destination packages are complementary and that they are not only sun and beach destinations,” said Martínez Aponte.

On the issue of the visas, the official said that with the advances in technology and the use of the Advance Passenger Information (APIS), progress could be made towards their elimination, as has happened in many countries with the eradication of the embarkation and disembarkation cards.

At “Multi-Destination Opportunities for Regional Integration” international seminar the following Ministers of Tourism participated: Richard Sealy, of Barbados; Jesús Sierra Victoria, of Panama; Magali Silva, of Peru; Obediah Wilchcombe, of Bahamas; Alain St. Ange, of the Seychelles, and the Executive Director of the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico, Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort.

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