Tourism has often been praised as a tool for poverty reduction. However, the example of the Dominican Republic shows the limited benefit of the tourism sector for the improvement of people's quality of life, especially in places where it is particularly prominent. The analysis by Pável Isa Contreras is based on statistics of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). National Human Development Reports in the Dominican Republic have shown diminishing economic benefits, which are concentrated in a few areas and groups of the population.
At the same time, the negative impacts on the environment and the local population have been increasing. They include an increase in uncontrolled migration, social tensions and increasing crime. Tourism in the Dominican Republic shows a high spatial concentration in two out of 32 provinces: La Altagracia and Puerto Plata. According to the HDR data, people in these regions neither have a higher quality of life nor better opportunities. The income level in Puerto Plata is average, in La Altagracia it is 17 percent higher, but concentrated on a few higher income groups. The number of people living in poverty is higher in both regions than in the rest of country, and so is the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. The Human Development Reports also show that tourism in the Dominican Republic has led to social exclusion. The author emphasizes the need to develop more sustainable forms of tourism, which would require a major effort by both civil society and government institutions.