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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Study confirms Dominican Republic’s tourism success: a smile

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s main tourist attraction isn’t a white sand beach with its turquoise water so common in the East region, nor the comfort of a luxury resort. After a visit to the country, the tourists from Europe, the United States and Canada place their contact with people as the best part of their experience.

This isn’t the usual blurb in the official and private sector’s advertizing, but the result of research requested by Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia. “When I arrived at the Ministry the first thing I did was to order a study to find out why foreigners preferred this nation; the Dominicans’ warmth was the answer.”

Today with a flow of nearly 4 million visitors per year, the tourism industry spends millions in ads for new residential complexes, infrastructure and services, while its main asset moves spontaneous through the resorts with smiles and amiable attention.

“With their environmental, historic and even cultural conditions, Dominicans are dynamic and receptive. They always have a smile,” said Lissette Gil, a specialist of the Dominican Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (DSTA).

Her experience in community projects nationwide allows her to assure that tourist development plans haven’t taken the advantage of the personality and the local customs into account, as they are characteristics that can be better exploited to add to the country’s value as a destination.

The divide between the local culture and the tourism business is such, Gil says, that in the large hotels it’s easier to find a Chinese or Mexican restaurant that one with Dominican cuisine.

Gil says the community must properly prepare itself to reach out to the visitors, so they can have a true contact with the essential Dominican things. “When there’s more closeness to the essential elements of culture the destination becomes much more competitive,”

Article and picture taken from Dominican Today.

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