Danilo Medina was sworn in on August 16 as the country’s President. During his inaugural speech President Medina said that he hopes to encourage a “new wave of investment” in the tourism industry. He reiterated that this sector “will be the engine of national development.”
For President Medina, tourism will be one of the cornerstones of his economic policy. Last year, the country’s tourism industry generated US$ 4.3 billion in revenues and brought in 3.7 million foreign visitors through the country’s airports.
He also said that “reaching the goal of bringing in 10 million tourists per year is the goal we must achieve in the next decade, through the implementation of priority programs and projects.”
President Medina was elected this past May in a democratic electoral process. Both outgoing President Leonel Fernandez and Medina are members of the Dominican Liberation Party, in power since 2004. The presidential term in the Dominican Republic is for a period of four years.
Minister of Tourism
President Medina reconfirmed Francisco Javier Garcia as Minister of Tourism, who has been in that position since 2008. In August of 2008 3.4 million tourists visited the Dominican Republic. During his years in charge of the Ministry of Tourism, sector growth has grown annually by seven percent, in spite of the difficult international economic situation.
What the President said
President Medina devoted several paragraphs of his inaugural speech to the tourism industry:
“As I’ve always said, tourism will be the engine of national development. The goal of bringing in to the country 10 million tourists per year is the main objective to be achieved during the next decade, through the implementation of priority programs and projects. ”
“Existing legislation will be adapted to the reality of the government’s development plans and regional competition. We will create the facilities to attract a new wave of investment in the sector, while new options will channel funding to stimulate private investment in the tourism industry. ”
“Aside from offering sun and beaches, we will make firm decisions to develop the concept of multi-destination tours, which will include community-based tourism, eco-adventure and cultural tours. We will work with the Ministries of Tourism, the Environment and Culture, among others, to develop joint policies. ”
“In addition, we will continue to strengthen our country brand, with an aggressive marketing plan and simultaneously reinforce security mechanisms in the sector. We will also encourage the cruise industry, develop projects that will attract this particular sector in order to turn the Dominican Republic into an important port destination. “