Tiny Ireland and Dominican Republican Sending Nearly a Million Visitors Annually: For anyone who read the revised inbound arrivals report recently issued by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism, the rankings contain no surprises—until one goes down the list and comes to the end of the Top 20 Overseas Source Markets.
There, one sees this:
The unusually high numbers for Ireland (est. population 4.8 million) and the Dominican Republic (est. population 10.8 million), which together brought 927 million visitors to the U.S. last year contrast with the 992 million sent by Venezuela (est. population 32.4 million) and Taiwan (est. population 23.6 million), which together have a population of more than three-and-a-half times that of Ireland and the Dominican Republic.
Here are several reasons for the high numbers of the two smaller countries:
—Ireland has pre-clearance facilities for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to pre-clear international passengers heading to the USA. And the Dominican Republican will soon be able to provide the same convenience. Luis Ernesto Camilo, president of the Dominican Republic’s Civil Aviation Board, the pre-authorization system for passengers traveling to the United States from the Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic will enter the service in early November. Camilo told the news site REPORTUR that the modules where the U.S. officials will work are already being prepared and will be finished soon.
—Both Ireland and the Dominican Republican benefit from their locations, which already make them facilitators of international travel. A little-known fact is that the Punta Cana International Airport is the Caribbean’s second busiest for international traffic—behind only Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marin Airport in San Juan. Punta Cana already has service from the major U.S. carriers—United, Delta and American—as well as the Panamanian carrier Copa, which has connections through Central and South America.
—In Ireland, officials at Dublin International Airport will shortly begin a formal consultation process on a nearly billion-dollar capacity investment plan which will allow Ireland’s Aer Lingus and all other airline customers at the facility– to continue to grow their business at Dublin Airport. That plan, which includes provision for a 30 percent increase in aircraft parking stands, new boarding gate piers, enlarged immigration and CBP areas, and modifications to the two existing terminals at Dublin Airport, is complementary to its North Runway project.
—Also, low-cost carrier Norwegian is using Dublin’s airport to increase European connections to the U.S. As well, Norwegian has launched some inventive routes that include a service introduce last February that takes travelers on a one-day shopping trip that uses Stewart International Airport —it’s 60 miles north of Manhattan—to take shopper to Woodbury Common, a popular shopping mall within shuttle bus distance of the airport.