De Viajes y Visiones:

La Nueva Presidenta

de Opetur

sobre el Futuro

del Turismo Dominicano

The president of Opetur began her career in tourism after studying at the University of Bologna. She worked internationally and witnessed the growth of Dominican tourism with Colonial Tours. Her vision for Opetur is to strengthen the recognition of tour operators and address post-pandemic challenges. She highlights the beauty and diverse tourism of the Dominican Republic and advocates for collaboration and resilience in the sector.

1. Introduction and Career Path

Could you briefly tell us about your start in the tourism industry

and how your career has evolved to become the president of Opetur?

What challenges have you faced in your career path and how have you overcome them?

My career in the international tourism sector began after my university studies; I graduated in foreign languages and literatures from the University of Bologna.

Always with an innate passion for travel and cultures, at a young age, I embarked on internships for extended months in various countries as a destination representative for major Italian tour operators.

I had the opportunity to deeply explore the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Malta, Tunisia, and Greece, spending extended periods in these destinations, taking care of the reception and organization of the massive influx of clients.

It was after a few years that I began my first venture in the tourism sector as a businesswoman: in Greece, with a Greek partner, I took charge of organizing all operations, accommodations, and transfers in the Cyclades Islands.

Later on, I received an offer from a prominent Italian tour operator who led the market for many years with charter flights. We also opened the current Hotel Viva Dominicus.

2. Experience in Colonial Tours

As part of Colonial Tours, how have you seen

tourism grow and change in the Dominican Republic?

Behind every Dominican experience, there are faces and hardworking hands that deserve to be valued and protected. A cohesive approach to laws and regulations, benefiting both the tourist and the local community, can transform the country into a leader in responsible and equitable tourism. This cohesion demands that regulations and laws be not only effective but also consistent, aiming for mutual benefit for all involved parties.

What lessons learned at Colonial Tours do you believe

will be essential for your role as president of Opetur?

The years of experience in the international sector that led to the founding of Colonial Tours were characterized by passion and a desire to contribute, offer, and showcase everything the Dominican Republic has to offer. I believe that my experience, dedication, and commitment to work, combined with my vocation, are the ingredients that have shaped my career and will continue to do so.

3. Vision and Agenda for Opetur

What is your vision for Opetur in the coming years?

Is there any specific initiative or project you would like to implement during your tenure?

Opetur is an association made up of a large number of tour operators who are experts in the tourism sector of the Dominican Republic, and as a team, we devise strategies to achieve goals that allow for the growth and development of tourism on our island.

My goal is to address many outstanding issues in favor of recognizing the contribution of each tour operator, as we always find ourselves dealing with problems of illegal activities and piracy. Additionally, I aim to institutionalize and position Opetur as a high-quality tourism professionals association, so that we can gain recognition at the national level and resonate internationally.

An association of committed members who are always seeking to strengthen tourism in the Dominican Republic.

How do you plan to address the current challenges of the tourism sector,

especially in the post-pandemic context?

I believe that the Dominican Republic has achieved a level of credibility in international tourism, setting an example of management during a global crisis such as the pandemic.

Opetur, as well as Asonahores, led by the Ministry of Tourism, were an excellent front line, and the collaboration and unity of all institutions were of utmost importance to ensure overcoming the crisis with courage and strength.

Grow the membership? How?

The existence of different associations in the realm of receptive tour operators leads me to believe that we can bring them together in a union of interests.

Opetur, due to its trajectory and the unparalleled commitment of its presidents and board of directors, is a significant association that could gain even more relevance.

By collaborating as a team with regular meetings of members, outlining strategies to achieve our goals and projects, and with proper communication, we can undoubtedly increase trust and grow in terms of membership.

4. Dominican Tourism

In your opinion, what are the unique strengths

of Dominican tourism that set it apart from other destinations?

The Dominican Republic, in addition to its natural beauty with incredible beaches and landscapes, has a comprehensive and high-quality hotel infrastructure. The Punta Cana area has grown immensely and is internationally known as the number one destination in the country, and I would say in the Caribbean.

The complementary offer of excursions and entertainment adds an extra appeal to the destination. However, I believe we need to diversify tourism so that it extends from Punta Cana to other areas of the country. Likewise, we need common goals to implement and strengthen tourism beyond sun and beach; we should intensify circuits that cover different areas of the island.

We should also promote ourselves in the meetings tourism sector, for which new convention centers, in addition to the ones we already have, will be essential. Always maintaining excellent communication through all the channels we have available: from fairs, road shows, events, digital campaigns, etc.

How do you see the future of tourism in the Dominican Republic?

Is there any emerging trend you consider important?

The future of tourism in the Dominican Republic is undoubtedly bright. We must always preserve quality, respect the environment, and ensure safety while creating attractive complementary product offerings.

5. Collaboration y Associations

How do you plan to strengthen the relationship

between the various members and associates of Opetur?

The best way to strengthen the members is to involve them, listen to them, make them a relevant part of the Association, so that each one understands that the interests are common and that their contribution is essential. I firmly believe in teamwork.

Do you have any international or regional collaboration

in mind to enhance Dominican tourism?

At the national level, there is no doubt that we need to unite the various associations of receptive tour operators and collaborate closely with others in the sector, oriented towards outbound or corporate tourism.

We are all connected and advocate for the same improvements; we must collaborate hand in hand, thus gaining more strength.

Internationally, as an Association, we should be taken into consideration for participation in relevant events and strengthen our presence.

6. Advice and Reflections

What advice would you give to someone

who is just starting out in the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic?

Starting a business in the tourism sector is a challenge, but like all projects, with perseverance, wisdom, and patience to grow gradually, it ensures that you can develop a quality company. Above all, focus on good service; a small company that guarantees excellence has all the potential to remain and grow.

Is there any personal experience or anecdote

you would like to share that has shaped your perspective on tourism?

Never give up, keep moving forward. We have all experienced challenging times that have left a mark on us and jeopardized our stability: the pandemic, hurricanes, political issues, economic and health crises; these are significant challenges. However, we must learn to be resilient, focus on finding solutions, and continue with determination and positivity.

Some more reading on Dominican Republic

Opetur - Maria Grazia Battaglia
Of Journeys and Visions: Interview with the New President of Opetur on the Future of Dominican Tourism
The president of Opetur began her career in tourism after studying at the University of Bologna. She worked internationally and witnessed the growth of Dominican tourism with Colonial Tours. Her vision for Opetur is to strengthen the recognition of tour operators and address post-pandemic challenges. She highlights the beauty and diverse tourism of the Dominican Republic and advocates for collaboration and resilience in the sector.
OPETUR -Unity and Values: The Dominican Success Formula
Unity and Values: The Dominican Success Formula
The Dominican Republic, a shimmering jewel of the Caribbean, has the potential to shine even brighter on the global tourism scene. But, what's the secret to achieving this? The answer lies in an integrated value chain, where both the public and private sectors converge to maximize the country's appeal.
Horses in Dominican Republic
Featured Destination: Puerto Plata – Discover Unique Agri-Tourism Experiences in This Region
Explore Puerto Plata's unique agri-tourism experiences, including coffee plantations, cocoa farms, sustainable farming practices, farm stays, and the region's commitment to preserving its natural beauty. Immerse yourself in the cultural heritage and gastronomic delights of this captivating destination.
Exploring Agri-Tourism in the Dominican Republic: A Journey through Vibrant Landscapes and Culinary Delights
Learn about sustainable practices, culinary delights, and cultural immersion. Plan your agri-tourism adventure in the Dominican Republic today!