|The President of the Dominican Association of Travel Agents (DATA), Placido Rodriguez, has blamed the 5% fall in visitors to the country on excessive airfares. He goes on to lay the blame for this at the government, saying that the US$139 tax is excessive and higher than anywhere else in the world.
He argued that other factors affecting tourism are lack of security and crime which is driving visitors to other destinations in Latin America or Europe.
He explained that these allegations have been made many times in national media, but are being ignored by the authorities.
"We have a country with and first class hotels and beaches, but we face the problems of high airfares charged by airlines and a security situation that prevents tourists moving freely around the country," said Rodriguez .
He noted that the main representatives of tourist organizations have explained to Dominican political leaders that many countries have up to three visitors for each inhabitant, while in our country of 10 million, we only manage to attract 3.5 million visitors.
He urged the government to listen to people in the industry and act robustly to improve the crime situation.