Although the Dominican Republic offers fine beaches and historical sites as well as good hotel facilities, it had no organized tourist industry to speak of until 1967, and received no more than 45,000 visitors per year. Increased political stability made the country more attractive to tourists, and by 1973 the number of foreign visitors had grown to 182,036. By 1997 the Dominican Republic had 38,585 hotel rooms with an occupancy rate of 76%, and tourism was a mainstay of its economy. In 2000, 2,972,552 tourists arrived in the country and tourism receipts came to about US $2.8 billion. The same year, there were 52,192 rooms with 70% occupancy.
The Ministry of Tourism has conducted a vigorous campaign to promote such resort centers as La Romana, Puerto Plata, Samaná, and Playa Grande. Baseball is the national sport. Other popular pastimes include basketball, boxing, tennis, golf, hunting, fishing, and scuba diving. The Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center is one of the best-equipped sports facilities in the Caribbean. Visitors require valid passports. Short-stay visitors may not require visas or may require only tourist cards, depending on nationality.
In 2002 the US government estimated the daily cost of staying in Puerto Plata at $139 and in Santo Domingo at $186.