Study on the National Strategic Plan
TourismGovernance/InstitutionsUrban and Community DevelopmentHuman Resource Development
||Japan International Cooperation Agency
Tourism in the Dominican Republic (DR) is largely dominated by what is known as “sun and beach” tourism in which tourists have the vast majority of their consumption within all-inclusive beach resorts. As a consequence, tours outside of resorts are generally limited to small-scale, half- or full-day excursions, which make limited contribution to local communities. Under such circumstances, one of the major issues in the DR was how to make the tourism industry support sustainable economic growth while at the same time reducing the toll on the environment. Accordingly, the main objectives of the Study were to: (i) contribute to the promotion of ecotourism through the diversification of tourism products; (ii) protect the natural environment that forms a part of ecotourism resources; and (iii) upgrade the living standards of poor communities by means of integrating many stakeholders who are active in various parts of the country in ecotourism.
Through field surveys and primary and secondary research, including a variety of survey instruments, the Study Team carefully analyzed the following four analytical components as they applied to ecotourism in the DR: (i) the potential for ecotourism development; (ii) legal and institutional organization; (iii) a model for community-driven ecotourism development; and (iv) promotion and marketing. Through the national planning process, the Study Team adopted a participatory approach. Feasible ecotourism development plans were formulated at the national and regional levels wherein a variety of stakeholders were integrated through field surveys, participatory workshops and collaboration with other international donor agencies. By means of the implementation of a participatory approach, this Study facilitated the development not only feasible but also sustainable development plans. Pilot projects were then selected by means of evaluation against the four analytical components and their action plans were prepared accordingly. In addition, the Study Team worked towards building the capacity of both government counterpart agencies, the State Secretariat of Tourism and the State Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, through a rich exchange of information, training and resources. Finally, the Study initiated the legislative process for new laws on ecotourism and environmental protection and formulated a set of concrete recommendations for the Master Plan for Ecotourism Development.