Locked-down smokers around the world are proving to be a boon for the Dominican Republic’s cigar and tobacco industry.
Already the world’s largest cigar producer, the Caribbean nation is on track to export a record $1 billion worth of tobacco products this year. That would represent a 6% jump over the $942 million it sold abroad in 2019, according to government figures.
The cigar industry has emerged as a bright spot for the region’s largest economy, which is expected to shrink 5.5% this year, as its critical tourism and services sectors are hammered by coronavirus-related restrictions.
As global cigar aficionados have been unable to frequent bars and restaurants, they’re spending more money and time on their smoking habit, said Hendrik Kelner, the president of the Association of Dominican Cigar Manufacturers.