The Russian tourists that visit the Dominican Republic are constantly increasing, in a country that is interested in developing tour operators in the east and advertise the southwest to a market that also aims at the Samana peninsula.
According to Galina Lysenko, director of the Representation Office of the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic in Russia, Ukraine, and the Community of Independent States, the Caribbean country is focusing on these three key developments for the fall-winter season.
Lysenko spoke on an interview published on Turprom, an online publication working in the field of B2B and B2C tourism industry in Russia, in which she detailed about the forecasts, flight schedules, and the news.
The following is part of the discussion of Dominican tourism in the Russian market with Galina Lysenko.
-What new features will the Dominican Republic offer in this winter season for the Russian market?
The first development is that tour operators in La Romana airport receive flights from St. Petersburg. The airport is located at the junction of many roads of the destination, from there it will be convenient to reach Punta Cana, La Romana, and Bayahibe, Juan Dolio, Boca Chica, and other tourist centers.
The second is the discovery by the Russians of the Samana peninsula. This is strategically important news for this season.
Third, in the longer term, the advertising campaign of the southwest of the Dominican Republic, the Barahona resort. Now there is an active construction and infrastructure development, expansion of the airport, which will allow taking long-haul aircraft.
According to our estimates, the development of this destination is a matter of the next three to five years.
– What are your forecasts for the 2018-2019 season about Russian tourist traffic to the Dominican Republic? What will be the volumes?
First of all, it is worth noting that the flow of tourists to the Dominican Republic is constantly increasing. In general, in all markets from January to August the country received 4.6 million tourists.
The number of Russian tourists was 134,493 thousand. Summer is not the highest season for Russian tourist traffic to the Dominican Republic, flight schedules are reduced, etc.
According to our estimates, since October, with a higher amount of flights from tour operators, the flow of tourists from Russia will increase, and in general, this year we expect between 180 and 200 thousand tourists from Russia.
This is a good result at the level of our main European markets. By the way, since 2005 the Dominican Republic has already managed to receive more than 1 million Russian tourists.
Of course, it would have developed more consistently if the industry had not been affected by the Transaero crisis; the numbers could have been higher. But in general, the results are quite decent and the most important thing is that we see a fairly stable image.
– What is the flight program planned for winter, for tour operators, and in cities? Who are the main players of the Dominican leadership in Russia?
We have four main tour operators: Anex Tour, Pegas Touristik, Biblio Globus, and Tez Tour.
Next winter season will start with its Dominican program TUI. Now, the “rest” negotiations are underway with other tour operators.
According to the programs, Anex Tour has already published its flight program, in which sales are in full swing. There are 8 flights per week from Moscow to Punta Cana, from St. Petersburg. Two flights are planned with a frequency of 10 to 11 days at the new La Romana airport for Russian tourists, and a flight to Puerto Plata is expected every 11 days.
Pegas Turistik announced flights to up to four regions, including the Samana region, which is rarely visited by Russian tourists, Punta Cana, and Puerto Plata, as well as flights to the Santo Domingo airport, located in the vicinity of Boca Chica and Juan Dolio hotels.
Also in the wings of the a / k “Russia”, Biblio-Globus as the main airline will fly twice a week, and along with it Tez Tour and TUI.
Of course, the problems of the Russian market directly affects us. For example, the departure of the main tour operators from our address, from the Southern Cross to Natalie Tours, the low exchange rate of the ruble; however, we hope that the season will be successful for us and without surprises.
After all, each of the leading Russian tour operators, which now works in our direction, has its own operator and, therefore, the opportunity to adjust the flight schedule in real time. And even if suddenly one of the flights is removed, this will not mean that everyone else will not fly.
– Does the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic plan to support Russian tour operators and, if so, how? Are joint promotions planned?
As a general rule, we work in collaboration with tour operators, advertising the Dominican address jointly. We do not provide financial support for flights, like some other travel agencies, we do not pay tour operators for empty seats, we are investing in advertising for a destination.
We are now working with our public relations agency on joint plans of winter advertising campaigns with tour operators, discussing the details. We also plan to support advertising on social networks. In collaboration with tour operators, we support their competitions in the Dominican Republic. On July 16, together with ATOR we launched the Dominican Republic Academy project, focused on the agencies, a kind of online training course on tourism opportunities in the Dominican Republic.
The best students will have a study trip throughout the country. Of course, we participate in exhibitions, for example, in the “Rest” that we officially sponsor this year. We also invited Russian experts to specialized Dominican exhibitions, such as the DATE of April, an exhibition dedicated to the north of the Dominican Republic, and the one in Santo Domingo, the capital.
The tour operators are mainly focused on working with agencies, the B2B segment, but we also do activities for the direct user. We recently inaugurated an exhibition dedicated to the Dominican Republic on Nikolskaya Street, carrying out various spotted activities for the direct client. And, of course, we are always ready to work with the press, organize press tours, etc.
– Are you planning to promote tourist destinations in our market, which are not as well known by Russian tourists as Punta Cana? What can these resorts offer in the winter season?
As for Puerto Plata, this destination continues to develop in the Russian market. This season the Pegas Touristik flight program adds Anex Tour and has all the possibilities of becoming one of the main ones we are promoting, because of growing flight program and tourist flow.
In addition, as mentioned above, tour operator Pegas Touristik plans to familiarize its agencies with the regions of Samana and Santo Domingo.