The Dominican Republic will promote tourism in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo to generate income and create jobs for the capital’s residents, in an program financed with a $30 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Tourism is a key sector in the Dominican economy generating 6.3 percent of its gross domestic product and 64 percent of its foreign exchange ($4.1 billion) in 2009. Tourism also provided some 200,000 jobs and brought in 9 percent in foreign direct investment. Tourism activities in the country are currently concentrated in beach destinations such as Punta Cana, La Romana, Puerto Plata, and Samaná.
The new IDB-financed program will help the Dominican Republic to reposition itself as a major tourism center in the region, opening new market niches to complement its “sun and sand” destinations, and promoting tourism based on its cultural and historical heritage and social inclusion.
The program will include restoration of the Colonial City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, promotion of the tourism production chain, and support for tourism activities provided by local people, whose culture and lifestyle are one of the area’s attractions. The objective is for residents of the Colonial City take the role of protagonists of tourism development and receive the principal economic benefits.