Colonial City District, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean. Tourism has increased 50% since 2010 to more than 6 million annual visitors. Economic growth has averaged 5.3% since 1993, making the Republic one of the fastest-growing Latin America economies.
Increasing competition and a change in tourist motivations require options to sand, sun and sea. Eco tourism and historical tourism are increasingly important.
Tourism development firm Solimar International conducted an 8-week consultancy in the Dominican Republic, focused on the World Heritage Site of Colonial City in Santo Domingo, funded by UNESCO and IDB’s ‘Strengthening Tourism in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo’ program.
TEI’s Jennifer Wesselhoff directed a work session for private and public sector stakeholders of Colonial City to discuss destination management solutions that align with the values of the wider Santo Domingo community. The result – each group took responsibility for advancing solutions.
- Public sector: Streamline communication and project coordination among the various Ministries and the Municipality; define specific roles and responsibilities to develop accountability and track progress.
- Private sector: Select and empower a private sector association to assume the role of destination manager. Establish a governance structure, operating procedures and detailed action plan.
Colonial City stakeholders took away a new enthusiasm for coordinated, empowered tourism development with an improved understanding of basic DMO organization and operation, and how DMOs facilitate coordinated development.
Today Colonial City is an internationally known pedestrian-friendly maze of streets brimming with 16th
to early 20th architecture, colonial buildings turned museums, shops, hotels, restaurants, and sidewalk
cafés. The Chu Chu Colonial train provides both a transportation alternative and a guided tour of the
area. Visitors also rent bikes and picnic on the lawn of the National Botanical Garden, the largest in the
Caribbean, or stroll down the Malecón for roadside snacks at sunset.