The Dominican Republic has become one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean according to a report from Delta Vacations. Apparently, what travelers from Minneapolis/St. Paul, greater Minnesota and the entire Upper Midwest discovered many years ago has caught on with vacationers from across the country. According to Elizabeth Moriarty of Edina, Minnesota-based MLT Vacations, operator of Delta Vacations, “We have experienced tremendous growth throughout the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic leading the way. In the last year, we have expanded our Caribbean business by 32%, with 82% increase in room nights in the D.R. to date.”
During the peak winter travel season Delta Air Lines flies non-stop to Punta Cana from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. The airline also offers service to Punta Cana and Santo Domingo from its largest hub in Atlanta. Easy connections are available from the Twin Cities year-round. The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispanola and is a four and a half hour flight from MSP.
The Dominican Republic was first offered from the Twin Cities by local tour operator, TransGlobal Vacations. That company was purchased by The Mark Travel Corporation of Milwaukee, which continues to sell the popular destination from its tour company, FunJet Vacations and other private-label travel companies. Initially, charter vacations were offered to Puerto Plata on the north coast of the island that is split approximately two-thirds D.R., one-third Haiti. Those trips proved incredibly popular and affordable for Minnesotans and were later expanded to the more upscale, all-inclusive resort area of Punta Cana in the northeast of the country.
Delta Vacations’ offers vacation packages in three area of the D.R.; Punta Cana (36 resort properties), La Romana (four resorts), and in the capital city of Santo Domingo (four hotels). In just the last year the number of travelers heading to the Dominican Republic with Delta Vacations has doubled. MLT’s Moriarty said, “On some routes, such as Minneapolis/St. Paul to Punta Cana, 60% of the passengers are Delta Vacations customers.”
With the recent addition of three resort properties that cater to weddings, the Dominican Republic is headed towards becoming even more popular in the future. These are the Hard Rock HOtel and Casino, Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana, and Ocean Blue and Sand. There is also a honeymoon program coming in late May that will feature 10 properties.