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Abstract

The tourism industry continues to be touted as the main income and employment generator for Caribbean nations. In the Dominican Republic (DR), international tourism has become one of the largest industries and is a major contributor to the country’s economic growth. A recent trend in the DR is the development of luxurious residential resort complexes and private resort cities, mainly designed and created for foreign ownership. The Dominican government support for such projects has been very strong due to the economic propensity of these high-end resorts to assist the country in generating local opportunities for stable employment, creating basic infrastructure, alleviating poverty, and stimulating sustainable human development, i.e., achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Considering the DR’s continued focus on resort tourism development and ongoing foreign investment in such projects, it is important to examine whether or not resorts have the potential to assist the country in achieving its 2015 MDG targets. This paper presents the findings of a baseline assessment of four MDGs in a popular tourist resort region, in the eastern DR. The field-based study was conducted through a qualitative analysis of primary social, environmental, and economic data, relating to factors that were identified as appropriate for monitoring the region’s progress towards the MDGs. Results of the analysis suggested that the tourist resort region’s current initiatives were generally satisfactory in terms of meeting three of the four MDGs. Managerial implications and recommendations for future sustainable development of the resort region, towards meeting the MDGs by 2015, are provided.

Keywords

Caribbean, DR, Resorts, Sustainability, MDGs, Assessment