CSRLatin America

The progressive increase in tourism across multiple areas around the world has become evident during the past few years. Something that might have been an unusual practice about 40 or 50 years ago is nowadays, particularly with the development of technology and communications, an everyday event. This is probably why Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that “tourism has become a powerful transformative force improving millions of lives”. This statement is backed by the World Tourism Organization, which states the international demand in this sector has maintained sustained growth for seven years, Asia-Pacific is ahead in this growth with 8%, followed by Africa with the same 8% increase, greater than America and Europe, and with an encouraging 4% growth in the Caribbean region.

The economic significance acquired by this activity in Latin American countries, and around the world, has scaled up to represent 10% of the global GDP, while one in eleven jobs are in the tourism sector. However, it remains unclear if companies, workers and tourists understand the challenges to overcome in order to turn tourism into a positive practice for everyone and our planet. This is probably why the United Nations declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism. But what does sustainable tourism mean? According to the United Nations, sustainable tourism requires successful management not only from the wealth generation perspective, but also from social inclusion, employment and poverty reduction, effective use of resources and environmental protection, as well as the promotion of cultural values in every region; diversity and heritage, and the promotion of a culture of peace and safety.

In this context, where 2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, our selection last month as one of the recipients of the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism gives me great pride, and it confirms our commitment show through Fundación Tropicalia, through which we include micro and small enterprises in the supply chain for our undertaking in the Dominican Republic: Tropicalia.

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Fundación Tropicalia was created in 2008 to design and implement programs for the Tropicalia project’s neighboring communities in the areas of education, environment, productivity, and wellbeing and culture.

Ever since we devised the Tropicalia project over a decade ago, we did it believing that it is possible to promote this activity with environmental responsibility, promoting the wellbeing of our workers, and being in harmony with communities surrounding the tourism project. In the link below you can read the review of the project undertaken by Fundación Tropicalia and the touching experience of the awards ceremony.

It’s up to every one of us to raise greater awareness and improve practices, from the tourist, entrepreneur, and worker perspectives. We must go beyond the physical and territorial aspects in tourism, transforming it into a more pleasurable and positive comprehensive activity for all stakeholders, with greater understanding of every new environment we set out to explore.


As part of the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting, I had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion organized by the prestigious British publication The Banker on the Dominican Republic’s growth in recent years and its plans for sustainable development.

Leading the discussion was the publication’s economic editor, Silvia Pavoni, with the participation of some of the country’s most important business leaders and policymakers, including Enrique Ramírez Paniagua, General Manager of the Reserve Bank; Fernando Capellán, President of Grupo M and CODEVI; José Miguel González Cuadra, President of CCN; and Reuven Bigio, CEO and Vice-Chairman of Grupo GB.

The main points of discussion included the current macroeconomic landscape, the relationship between development and social policy, the country’s importance as a tourist destination, its financial and banking systems, and direct foreign investment. Key takeaways are summarized in the latest edition of The Banker.

According to Silvia Pavoni, “The Dominican Republic is undoubtedly the current economic star of Latin America in terms of growth,” with its prosperous tourism industry, a revitalized mining sector and a healthy economy with solid investment levels all serving as catalysts for its development.

The Banker highlights a 7% growth in the country’s GDP in 2015, which was partly due to the country’s ability to control its budget deficits, among other factors.

Last February, Cisneros announced the start of construction on the Tropicalia Four Seasons, which will contribute to the positioning of the Dominican Republic as a point of reference in sustainable tourism. We are very excited to participate in the country’s continued growth and help drive its tourism development forward.


Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for our company and our family. We proudly announce the launch of Tropicalia; a tourist luxury destination, on the south coast of Samaná in Esmeralda Beach, Dominican Republic.

My relationship with Costa Esmeralda, in the Dominican Republic, is like those relationships resulting from love at first sight. Ever since I saw it from up above, 25 years ago, I was sure that I was given the opportunity to do something different with my life; something that would also help us give the country what it had given us up till then and is still giving us: the warmth of its people and the beauty of its environment. This is what the Dominican Republic –our second home, a special place– does; thus our proposal had to be special too. This is how Tropicalia was born almost ten years ago.

Throughout this period, we have invested in the community and the environment of Miches, being aware that they are the most important things. We wanted to make sure we would set up foundations to ensure the sustainability of anything we intended to do, and we have succeeded. The model we have decided to use –the public-private alliance– has had a lot to do with this. We have worked together with the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Education, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Multilateral Investment Fund of the IDB, as well as other national and international foundations.

Education has been the focus of many efforts. Today we can say that, thanks to the Tropicalia Foundation, over three thousand students have improved their skills and school results. Furthermore, 250 professors have improved their teaching and knowledge skills.

Over 210 million pesos invested in programs intended to improve the community’s productive skills aiming at becoming part of the chain of value, have given a boost to entrepreneurship and financial education of more than twenty thousand people in Miches and nearby locations.

Yesterday we took our first step to continue our walk with the idea that the already achieved well-being be maintained and grow. The construction of the Four Seasons Tropicalia hotel will change the luxury tourism paradigm in the Dominican Republic; it certainly means a qualitative and quantitative huge leap with an incalculable range of value for the country that will bring about a new era of projects of this caliber.

Four Seasons Tropicalia will have 169 keys, apart from the 40 Four Season residences; a wonderful golf course, and various amenities that will be part of the first phase of Tropicalia as a whole.

This means an investment of 310 million dollars through two years. During the construction and operation period of the Four Seasons Tropicalia, it will employ 1,800 people. Having this sustainable, luxury hotel is part of the low density and low environmental impact real estate development in the area, the Cisneros Real Estate’s flagship.

During these years we have learned vastly from Costa Esmeralda, its people and its environment. This was required for maintaining the sustainability of a project such as Tropicalia. Today, we are sure to have a strong, robust and healthy tree planted.

Thanks to all Dominicans for making this project a reality.