Air Canada Vacations and the Dominican Tourism Board have partnered to bring a three day cultural festival to Toronto. The event showcases everything the country has to offer while highlighting the importance of Canadian travel to the Dominican economy.
837,000 Canadians visited the island in 2017, part of the 6.2 million overall visitors who the Dominican Consulate says are crucial to the country’s economy.
“We are very proud to be working with Air Canada Vacations, which is a very prestigious partner”, said Rafael Vázquez, Consul General in Toronto in an interview with TravelPulse Canada. “We are very happy they are flying to Puerto Plata, not just Punta Cana, as it strengthens our commercial ties between the two cities. Tourism is very important to the Dominican Republic economy and our community.”
The cultural event kicked off Tuesday morning at Marche Restaurant with a ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by the Tourism Board and Air Canada Vacations’ elite. The event launched an open-air style market that featured tastes and artisans of the Dominican, which is open to the public July 5. July 4 will see sole-sponsor Air Canada Vacations host trade and training events for the industry.
“We really want people to rediscover Dominican Republic, especially Puerto Plata which is destination rich in culture”, says Monique Lalonde, General Manager, Sales and National Accounts, Air Canada Vacations. “In addition to Puerto Plata, we offer direct flights to Samana and Punta Cana from Toronto and Montreal year round, and seasonal lift from Ottawa, and Halifax. And of course, we always have our 64 connectors coast to coast.”
Air Canada Vacations has increased loads by about 9%, some of which is added capacity to Puerto Plata as it’s coming back strong, says Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Air Canada Vacations. It’s due to the wide variety of options available in the Dominican Republic, but also the company’s strong relationship with the Ministry of Tourism.
“We have a great relationship with the Ministry of Tourism and we’re here to demonstrate that.”
Montagnese tells TravelPulse Canada that agents are best to book now for their clients to avoid the disappointment of not getting the package they’d hoped for.
“If your customers know what they want, book it now, don’t wait. When the customer knows what they want, the pricing is as good as it’s going to get into those properties, so agents can book with confidence.”
Part of that booking confidence comes with Air Canada Vacations CareFree and CareFlex plan, which offers seat selection, price drop guarantee, flexibility and more, for an additional cost of $49 each. As well, travelers can take advantage until July 31 by booking a Puerto Plata air and hotel package through a travel agent or online using PromoCode POP55 and save $55.
Those savings will come in handy for the many Canadian “repeaters” who visit, says Abdalah Castillo, Chairman of the Dominican Republic Tourism Board in Toronto.
“Canada has a high amount of repeat visitors, everyone here knows the Dominican Republic and many different generations have visited. Personally, and not because I’m the Director of Canada but our most loyal tourists are the Canadians. You have just over 36 million people living here, but your market share is very high. It makes me very proud to be here.”