DOMINICAN TOURISM LACKS DIGITAL INNOVATION

Michael Trout - Sep 5, 2016
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A study conducted by the Dominican Political Observatory (OPD) notes that Dominican tourism sector is at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries due to the lack of digital innovation.

The OPD is an agency attached to the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE). In the study titled “Digital Tourism and the Use of New Technologies in the Dominican Republic," author Héctor Nicolás Suero, coordinator of OPD-Funglode’s ePolicy Unit explains that 80% of people who plan to travel first consult the Internet.

It also states that over the last three years the main device used to connect to the web is no longer the desktop, but the mobile phone, and 60% of tourists globally are now using travel apps.

In the case of the Dominican Republic, the study shows that there are 45 tour operators authorized by the General Directorate of Internal Revenue (DGII) for the areas of Santo Domingo, National District, and the eastern provinces of the country. They are constituted as a major sales force for package tours for foreign and local tourists. However, digital innovation is the weak spot for them.

According to the ePolicy database of the Dominican Political Observatory (OPD-SocialPol), only 55.5% of these operators are on social interaction platforms and 66.7% of Dominican tour operators have no website; in other words, three out of 10 do not have a website and for those that have, in some cases they are out of date and not suitable for mobile devices.

"Only a few meet some of the standards required by the digital tourism industry worldwide which is very oriented towards mobile applications and social networks," says Suero.

The document stresses that globally 42% of tourists use the TripAdvisor app which generates over 140 reviews of hotels, bars and restaurants every 60 seconds. For example, the hashtag "hotel" was used on Twitter 60 million times and "vacation" 21 million this past year.

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