With 4.1 million visitors per year, the DR is the leading Caribbean destination and the second most popular market for many Spanish leisure groups, which have invested here since the 1980s. Spanish companies own a major share of hotels in the DR and the main Spanish operators account for over 60% of the high-end rooms
Founder of the first Spanish private airline, air Europa, and president of the Globalia holding, the largest Spanish vacation group, Mr. Hidalgo has invested heavily in the Dominican hotel industry and is now venturing into real estate development
I am someone who loves the Dominican Republic, both personally and professionally. I fell for this country over 20 years ago, when Globalia – known at the time as Halcón Viajes and Air Europa – started selling Caribbean vacations in the Spanish market.
We were the first company to open the Caribbean skies to Spain and in the 1990s we promoted vacations so successfully that we changed the habits of Spanish tourists, who started to consider the Caribbean a prime destination.
We started with one flight to Puerto Plata in 1987 and today we have daily flights to Santo Domingo and almost daily to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata.
As far as I’m concerned, the Caribbean of the 1980s, reserved until then for the Spanish, was Cuba, Cancún and especially the Dominican Republic. Since the 1980s I have travelled to this island very often, about a dozen or more times a year. Sometimes I come on business, but always for sheer personal pleasure. I feel good here. I like the Dominican weather, the Dominican character, the emerald green sea and the white sand beaches.
But my love affair with the Dominican Re-public is also for professional reasons. It is a very lively country, full of business activity, which has been growing at an impressive rate for several years. It’s also a country with great social, political and economic stability, and therefore a good place for investment.
Globalia, the company I have the honor of heading, has 25,000 employees and a 4 billion turnover, moves two million tourist packages and 17 million travelers per year, and has always firmly supported the country from the very first day.
We’ve brought thousands of passengers over since then. If there is anything I can really feel proud of, it is having contributed to the DR’s development through tourism, employment and promotion of this country, where we have more than 4,000 employees and where we have invested around US$ 400 Million.
Our airline Air Europa links Las Américas and Punta Cana airports with our hub in Barajas, in Madrid, where we board passengers from all over Europe arriving on our connecting flights. We’re proud to note that the spirit of Curro, the star of our first advertising campaign that encouraged Spaniards to come to the Caribbean, has also spread to Italy, France and Great Britain, and generally across the whole of Europe.
With thousands of passengers each year from Spain, France, England and Italy, thanks to Air Europa, our tour operator Travelplan and the Halcón and Ecuador Travel Agencies, going to the Dominican Republic on vacation is a popular choice that is affordable for everyone. We’ve al-ready brought over half a million of visitors in the last few years on thousands of vacation packages and as we have -proven time and time again, the Dominican Republic has never let us down.
Over the years, Globalia has installed its own Be Live hotels on Dominican beaches. We now have five luxury resorts offering more than 4,000 rooms. We are extending our investment and working on very high-level developments in the most exclusive parts of the island, where we have just invested some 68 million in three tourist complexes which add a new shared rental model for luxury apartments, supporting our hotels with 500 new rooms.
At the same time we have launched some innovative industrial projects.
Globasol is involved in the construction of a biodiesel plant to supply clean and affordable power that ensures sustainable growth and helps alleviate the country’s energy deficit, while providing quality jobs in both the agro industry and energy sectors.
It hasn’t all been a bed of roses. Not all businesses have prospered as one would have liked; the international financial crisis has slowed down returns on investment. The international air industry is going through difficult times, but at the same time the cruise industry is beginning to thrive. The Caribbean is still a highly regarded tourist destination and the Dominican Republic is actively improving its infrastructure. The Government understands that the development of the Dominican tourism and property sector is a priority for the country, and even at times of economic uncertainty there is growth in tourism investment.
This country is the leading tourist destination in the Caribbean, but it is also my second home – a place where I have found great opportunities, good allies and wonderful friends, and where I plan to go on investing and contributing, as much as I can, to its full development.