The Embassy of the Dominican Republic, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, held a three-day celebration of the country in Ottawa this week, marking the DR's 174th anniversary of independence on Feb. 27 and the arrival six months ago of Briunny Garabito Segura as Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Canada.
On Feb. 27, twenty travel agents took part in the first of many workshops led by Cosette Garcia, director of the Tourist Promotion Office of the Dominican Republic in Montreal, which were held for three days at the Sheraton Hotel.
The theme focused on the Dominican Republic as a tourist destination, with a focus on the Puerto Plata region.
For the occasion, Garcia invited two Canadian tour operators, Sunwing and Air Canada Vacations, five hoteliers (Iberostar, VH Hotel & Resort, Emotions, Hotels Be Live and Lifestyle Holidays), as well as the tourist group of Puerto Plata, to take the floor to explain in five minutes their activities in Puerto Plata and the Dominican Republic in general.
Punta Cana, first class
The Dominican Republic is divided into six tourist areas. The best known, to the east, is Punta Cana, which alone accounts for 60 per cent of arrivals.
In Puerto Plata, to the north of the island, there are more than 100 kilometres of beaches for more than 12,000 rooms. This is a lot compared to the 2,000 rooms of the tourist region of Samana, less developed but acclaimed by nature lovers.
Record number of Canadian arrivals
Last year, the country welcomed six million visitors. Among them, more than 800,000 were Canadians. "We are very happy with the Canadian market. With this figure, we set a new record," Garcia said. "In this way, we become the first Caribbean destination for Canadians outside Mexico and in front of Cuba. We are still far from 2 million Americans, the country's largest market. But Canada can boast of being the destination's second largest market, which is about four hours away from the airports of Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa."
A gastronomic festival
The event coincided with guests heading up to the 17th floor of the hotel for a ribbon cutting ceremony, officiated by the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Canada, Briunny Garabito Segura.
This ribbon cutting officially launched the three days of festivities, which includes a workshop called 'The Dominican Republic as a destination for tourism health and well-being'.
These three days are also an opportunity for the Caribbean country to show all its know-how in gastronomy. For example, Dominican chef Alberto Morel, who came specially from Santiago, one hour from Puerto Plata, concocted a buffet menu at the Sheraton Hotel's main restaurant.
"The Dominican Republic has started to make its gastronomy known," Moreal said. "Last year, the city of Santo Domingo was named Capital of the Gastronomic Culture of the Caribbean 2017-2018 by the Ibero-American Academy of Gastronomy."
The public is invited to taste the Dominican gastronomy, for $30 per person, until March 1, at the Sheraton Hotel. On the menu: cassava fritters, roasted mojo criollo pork, mashed sweet potatoes, black bean rice or roasted whole pig.