tourism news from Dominican Rep (DR1)

From: Yacine Khelladi <yacine_at_YACINE.NET>
Date: Fri, 3 May 2002 18:23:06 -0400

Dr tourism news from December 2001 to May 2 2002

All News are from :
The best internet resource for information on the Dominican Republic"

You can in particular follow up debate on Bahia de las Aguilas that is
located in the Jaragua National Park and other items.

Dr tourism news from December 2001 to May 2 2002

All News are from :
The best internet resource for information on the Dominican Republic"

You can in particular follow up debate on Bahia de las Aguilas that is
located in the Jaragua National Park

DR1 Daily News -- Friday, 2 May 2002
6. Save Bahia de las Aguilas
The Consorcio Ambiental Dominicano (CAD), which represents such
highly respected ecological groups as Fundacion Progressio, Quita
Espuela, CEBSE, Grupo Jaragua and others, has expressed its concern
over the government's proposal to develop the Bahia de las Aguilas
area by building hotels there. CAD says the presidential decree that
declares the land from Oviedo to Pedernales of "public utility"
clashes with Environment Law 64-00, which protects that area. The
group proposes that the hotels be built in nearby Cabo Rojo,
Pedernales or Oviedo where there already are communities and many
lovely beaches. They said the development would then truly benefit
the impoverished communities in Pedernales province. Bahia de las
Aguilas is not populated.
The ecologists say that unique endemic species live in Jaragua
National Park, where Bahia de las Aguilas is located. Bahia de las
Aguilas is a sanctuary for manatees and Carey turtles. They explain
the coveted beach is one of the few truly virgin beaches whose
difficult access has even kept it free of the coconut trees that
were planted by the Dutch in the 16th century.
Mario Read Vittini, lawyer and former governor of the Central Bank,
represents groups of foreigners who claim they own land in the area.
Read's clients want to develop a project in the area similar La
Romana's Casa de Campo, as reported by El Caribe newspaper.

7. Where's the plan for Bahia de las Aguilas?
Marino Ginebra, president of the National Council of Business,
insists on the importance of protecting the National Parks in an
interview with El Caribe newspaper. "Each government wants to leave
its mark on tourism by creating its own tourism destination, but the
national parks need to be respected so that the Dominican Republic
as a whole can be sold abroad as a rich, multifaceted and diverse
destination where there is much to do and see," he said.
He criticized that at a time when there is an oversupply of hotel
rooms the government insists on developing the prime beach area of
Bahia de las Aguilas, which is part of Jaragua National Park. Both
President Hipolito Mejia and Minister of Tourism Rafael Subervi have
spoken up for its development. El Caribe reports that the
development of this area would violate 15 laws that protect national
"There are many kilometers available, why build in the middle of a
National Park," asks Rafael Blanco Canto, a former president of the
Hotel Association. He called the planned development of Bahia de las
Aguilas abusive because it is one of the most important ecological
reserves in the Caribbean and Jaragua National Park is one of the
most important habitats for birds. He commented that efforts are
under way to get UNESCO to declare the park a world heritage site.
Blanco told El Caribe that travelers today seek protected and
natural areas in contrast to the development in modern cities. "The
countries that are aware of this will get the biggest piece of the
cake," he said.
Ramon Prieto, president of the Hotel & Restaurant Association,
called on the government to respect the laws that protect national
parks. But President Hipolito Mejia himself has announced he has a
plan to develop the Bahia de las Aguilas, although this plan has not
been made public.
Arturo Villanueva, vice president of Asonahores urged the plan be
revealed to the public. "Why hasn't it be shown to the national
community? What is all the mystery about?" Villanueva said that
this is setting a bad precedent for other developers who also may
want to defy environmental laws.
The government of past President Leonel Fernandez arrested several
officers of the previous administration (Balaguer 94-96) for
irregularly appropriating land in Jaragua National Park putting a
stop to its tourism development.

9. Deadly bullets fired at late senator
The Listin Diario reports that investigations into the killing of
senator Dario Gomez indicate that the bullets were the most deadly
kind. Criminologist Bernardo Santana Paez of the National Police
told the Listin Diario that full metal case bullets were used. They
are only used in semi-automatic pistols and are a standard military
bullet preferred by drug dealers and mafia-types but not by robbers,
as they are more expensive and difficult to buy.
Santana Paez said the use of these bullets by the assailants
indicates that their intention was to kill the senator. Pathologist
Sergio Sarita also concludes, "Here the intent was to incapacitate
the victim. How? Firing where they knew he was not going to move
Three deadly shots were fired at the senator when he was visiting
friends with his wife.

10. Price war on Miami flights?
Yesterday, Aero Continente Dominicana published an advertisement
announcing a US$199 round trip fare from Santo Domingo to Miami.
Today, it lowered this fare to an unprecedented US$139 return. The
flights start 18 May. This would be the lowest fare on that route.
Previously, Mexicana Airlines offered the lowest fares.
Aero Continente Dominicana is also advertising flights to Miami, La
Havana, New York, Panama, San Juan, Aruba, Lima, Curacao and Caracas
from Santo Domingo.
For more information, call 563-9131.
Aero Continente's parent company controls 60 percent of Peru's air
traffic and is one of Latin America's fastest-growing air carriers.
Information on the web shows that when the airline entered the
Chilean market, it unleashed a price war there.
American Airlines is offering a US$219 special fare on the Miami
flight for next weekend with a maximum stay of five nights including
a Sunday. American has four direct daily flights to Miami from Santo
Domingo. Aeromar and Mexicana also serve the route.

DR1 Daily News -- Wednesday, 1 May 2002
2. Senators want hotels in Bahia de las Aguilas
Hoy newspaper reports that several senators from the southern
provinces will present a bill to modify the Environment Law to allow
the construction of hotels in National Parks. PRD Senator Angel
Dignocrates Perez also called for the replacement of Frank Moya Pons
as Minister of Environment, saying he is an obstacle to the
development of the southern region. The senator said if the bill
passes, the beach at Bahia de las Aguilas would be taken out of
Jaragua National Park to allow for its development. He said that
other southern senators support the proposed changes.
The president of the National Hotel & Restaurant Association, Ramon
Prieto, clarified that the association does not oppose tourism
development in the far south, but does oppose the construction of
hotels in the Bahia de las Aguilas area of Pedernales and in other
National Parks. He said the authorities need to define what type of
development should be allowed in these areas. But he insisted when
interviewed yesterday after a meeting with the President that the
parks need to be protected and should become complements to the
hotels, not sites for the construction of hotels. He said he does
favor the construction of low-density ecotourism hotels in the area
but he wants the existing laws to be respected.
Prieto said there are already 54,000 hotel rooms in the DR, enough
to meet demand into the next three years. "That means any new
project should be located in low density areas and should introduce
a new product that allows us to capture new market segments," he
said. For example, he had praise for the development of two deluxe
hotels in Punta Cana to be marketed to high-income travelers. He
opposes the construction of more of the same type of beach hotels
that have become the standard here.

7. New flights to USA
Aerocontinente Dominicana is advertising its new flights to Miami,
Havana, New York, Panama, San Juan, Aruba, Lima, Curacao and Caracas
from Santo Domingo starting 18 May. The airline is promoting a
US$199 (taxes not included) daily flight to Miami. For more
information, call 563-9131.

8. Great fares to Europe
Martinair is advertising fares of US$700 to Belgium, Germany,
Switzerland and Scandinavia. The airline is also offering fares of
$768 Euros from Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands to Santo
Domingo. Iberia is promoting a US$600 fare to Switzerland and US$575
fares to Madrid.

> DR1 Daily News -- Wednesday, 24 April 2002
> 2. Bahia de las Aguilas development conflict
> While the Tourism Department is pushing for the development of hotel
> projects in the Bahia de las Aguilas beach area, Minister of
> Environment Frank Moya Pons says any development there must obey
> guidelines in the Environment Law. Bahia de las Aguilas is located
> in the southwestern province of Pedernales.
> Moya Pons told Diario Libre newspaper, "We do not have any
> confrontation with Tourism. We are simply saying that the laws are
> very clear. This is not a jungle or a farm. The tourism
> developments, roads and any other type of development have to be
> carried out following the law."
> Ecologists oppose the development of hotels of any kind within the
> ecologically fragile beach area.
> Bahia de las Aguilas falls within the borders of Parque Nacional
> Jaragua created in 1983. Environment Law 64-00 establishes that once
> created, the boundaries of national parks cannot be modified without
> congressional approval.
> Ecologist Adolfo Lopez says that Decree 273-01 -- which declares the
> Bahia de las Aguilas, Cabo Rojo and Parque del Este of public
> usefulness and of social interest for tourism development --
> violates local laws and international conventions signed by the
> country. He said it also invalidates the request made to UNESCO to
> declare Parque Nacional Jaragua as a World Heritage Site.

> DR1 Daily News -- Wednesday, 17 April 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 9. Birdwatchers Big Day
> The Sociedad Ornitologica Hispaniola (SOH) is joining forces with
> the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) to celebrate the
> first Society of Caribbean Ornithology Endemic Bird Festival. The
> main event will be a on 11 May. Kate Wallace, of the Hispaniola
> birdwatchers society, explains that this is a popular event in the
> United States and involves a team of birdwatchers searching for and
> hoping to see as many different species of birds as possible in 24
> hours.
> The event is designed as a fundraiser for bird conservation. It will
> also benefit the work of VINS in its ongoing research on the life of
> the Bicknell's Thrush, a very special winter migrant in the
> mountains of the Dominican Republic.
> It will also benefit nest monitoring research, a joint project of
> VINS and Dr. Steve Latta. The team will be led by Chris Rimmer, the
> VINS Bicknell's Thrush researcher, and will include many members of
> the SOH.
> To make pledges or for more information please contact Kate Wallace
> at
> 10. Sandals ready to build hotel in Punta Cana
> Sandals Resort International, which operates seven hotels in Jamaica
> and three more in Antigua, St. Lucia and the Bahamas, has announced
> plans to build a hotel in Punta Cana. Gordon Stewart, chief
> executive of the company, met in Jamaica with President Hipolito
> Mejia at a luncheon held at the Sandals Montego Bay. Stewart is the
> owner of 75% of the shares of Air Jamaica and is the owner of Air
> Jamaica Express, which provides the only direct connection between
> Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. The Sandals all-inclusive deluxe
> property would go up within the Punta Cana Group, next door to Club
> Med and about 10 minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport.
> 11. Lung diving for world records
> Belgian diver Patrick Musimu will attempt to set a world record in
> free diving in an event that will take place off Bayahibe, La
> Romana. On April 20, 2002, Musimu will attempt to break the record
> in the Constant Ballast free diving category. Free diving involves
> diving as deep as you can on one breath and staying as long as
> possible under water. The event is sponsored by the International
> Association of Free Divers (IAFD) and Viva Dominicus Resorts.
> Musimu is the current world champion in Free Immersion and Constant
> Ballast in fresh water events. He will attempt to reach a depth of
> 87 meters to break the constant ballast record.
> In addition, diving world champion Audrey Mestre and scuba expert
> Emmy Castro will attempt to become the record holders in the female
> tandem free diving event. The pair must dive beyond 92 meters to
> break the record.
> For more information, see

> DR1 Daily News -- Tuesday, 16 April 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 3. Development of Bahia de las Aguilas
> The Ministry of Tourism called upon purchasers of property in the
> Bahia de las Aguilas beach area to visit the Ministry's legal
> advisor within the next 10 days. The Ministry is acting on Decree
> 273-01 dated 23 February 2001 that created a commission for the
> planning, promotion and development of the prime beach area in
> Pedernales province within the borders of Jaragua National Park.
> In the past, the beach had been off limits to tourism development.
> The commission was created to present recommendations to the
> Executive Branch for the development of the area. Ecologists object
> the development of the fragile beach area and have urged that hotel
> constructions take place outside of its perimeter.
> 4. Norwegian forestry group opposes Guaigui Dam
> The Association for International Water and Forest Studies (FIVAS),
> an independent Norwegian organization, has issued a report that
> shows overly negative consequences would result from construction of
> the Guaigui Dam in La Vega. The Oslo-based organization was founded
> to prevent Norwegian financial participation in projects with
> significant negative social or environmental impacts. It obtains and
> disseminates information about the consequences of large dams and
> hydroelectric projects in the Third World. The group focused on the
> Dominican Republic as part of its role of keeping an eye on power
> developments involving Norwegian companies or institutions.
> Following an inspection visit, FIVAS confirmed that the stated goals
> of the multipurpose project had been changed during the planning
> process. Alternative solutions which might have caused fewer social
> and environmental costs were not evaluated. This means that instead
> of investigating the best way to serve La Vega's needs, the focus
> has been on how best to justify building the dam. Construction is
> planned to start soon, even before population resettlements and
> compensation are agreed upon.
> FIVAS warned that the vested interests of the tourism business are
> stronger than what has been expressed publicly and that this could
> conflict with the other purposes of the dam. It also observed that
> the dam's ability to control floods, provide irrigation water and
> potable water was being questioned by some academics. The
> organization also found that the project conflicts on several points
> with international standards set by both the World Bank and the
> World Commission on Dams.
> Listin Diario interviewed the executive director of the National
> Institute of Hydro Resources, Silvio Carrasco, who said that once
> the project is completely designed they will know which families
> will need to be relocated. He also said that the ecotourism project
> would focus on the lake that would be created by construction of the
> dam.
> To read the report on Guaigui, see
> 8. Barahona city to get its beach
> Barahona, the largest city in the southwest, will soon have its own
> beach. The government is building a breakwater between the Navy area
> and the port off the Barahona-Batey Central highway. Engineer Jose
> R. Hawa said the beach conditioning will include walks for
> pedestrians, a new boulevard, green areas, parking and illumination.
> In the past, the people of Barahona had to travel 20 minutes or more
> to get to a beach at El Quemaito, San Rafael, Bahoruco, Cienaga, Los
> Patos or other coastal locations. The beach is being promoted as
> Playa Casita Blanca. It is expected to enhance tourism to Barahona.

> DR1 Daily News -- Monday, 15 April 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 1. Ritz Carlton to invest in Punta Cana
> Tourism Minister Rafael Subervi announced in a press conference held during the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange in
Punta Cana that investments of upwards of US$7 billion will be made in
the next three years in the tourism sector. That
total includes US$3 billion for the Cap Cana project in the Punta Cana
> Most of the money is being invested in five-star properties.
> Subervi announced that the US luxury hotel chain Ritz Carlton has requested government approval for the construction of a
deluxe hotel in the Cap Cana area. In the Caribbean, Ritz Carlton
already has hotels in Cancun (Mexico), San Juan (Puerto
Rico), and Rose Hill (Jamaica). It will be opening a hotel in Grand
Cayman in 2003.
> Subervi also mentioned that Westin, Hyatt and Sandals are other big names that have plans to open hotels in the Punta
Cana area.
> With the exception of Sandals (which will offer upscale all-inclusive products), the other abovementioned US companies
plan to operate on the MAP plan (Modified American Plan: includes only
the room, breakfast and dinner, no lunch or alcohol
or sports). This would be new for Punta Cana where all-inclusive
properties dominate.
> The MAP alternative is now possible because American Airlines will be flying into Punta Cana from Miami and New York as
of 15 June 2002. Previously, vacationers could arrive only by charter
flight or by the American Eagle connection through
San Juan, Puerto Rico.
> Punta Cana is a booming area, with other major investments being the championship bowling alley that will open this
summer and the construction of a Carrefour shopping mall.
> 2. Amhsa opens its first hotel in Bavaro
> President Hipolito Mejia was in Bavaro over the weekend for the opening of the first Ahmsa hotel in that area. The Hotel
Grand Paradise Bavaro is the newest hotel in the Punta Cana-Bavaro area.
The 504-room hotel is said to have cost US$35
million. The hotel is located on a 200,000-meter lot with 200 meters of
beachfront. It is 35 minutes from the Punta Cana
International Airport and 90 minutes from the La Romana International
> Ahmsa Marina Hotels & Resorts is a Dominican chain with 10 hotels nationwide.
> President Mejia also took advantage of his trip east to visit the 460-room Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, which opened
last year at a cost of US$40 million. It's the newest in the La
Romana-Bayahibe area. The Spanish hotel chain Iberostar
operates five hotels nationwide.

> DR1 Daily News -- Thursday, 11 April 2002
> 7. Travel marketplace comes to Punta Cana
> Punta Cana and Bavaro hoteliers will welcome travel businessmen to the
> Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE), which opens today in Punta
> Cana. Regarded as the most important local marketing event, DATE is
> coordinated by the National Hotel Association (Asonahores) with the
> backing of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA). The event is a
> marketplace to sell DR travel to US travel re-sellers. Attending are
> international wholesalers, tour operators, incentive buyers, airlines
> and charter operators who will have access to over 150 suppliers of
> Dominican tourism products on an appointment basis in a business
> environment. In its third year, the event is at the Barcelo Bavaro
> Conference Center from 11-14 April.
> 8. AA announces Punta Cana and Santiago flights
> American Airlines has officially announced what has already been in
> their reservations system for several weeks now: the start of flights
> to Punta Cana and Santiago international airports.
> As of 15 June, American Airlines will operate flight AA1781 departing
> from John F. Kennedy International Airport at 9:10 am, arriving in
> Punta Cana at 12:54 pm. The return flight, AA1786, will leave Punta
> Cana at 2:06 pm arriving in New York City at 5:50 pm.
> Also starting 15 June, the airline will offer direct flights from Miami
> International Airport to the Santiago Cibao International Airport
> (STI). The inaugural flight AA739 will depart Miami at 5:15 pm arriving
> in Santiago at 7:15 pm. Next day, the AA738 flight will leave Santiago
> at 9:36 am and arrive in Miami at 11:43 am.
> AA will also start a Santiago-New York City direct flight on 15 June.
> Flight AA2054 departs Santiago at 4:11 pm and arrives at JFK
> International at 7:39 pm. The return flight AA2051 departs JFK
> International at 11:30 am and arrives in Santiago at 3:01 pm.
> American Airlines already offers multiple connections to New York
> City's JFK, Newark and La Guardia airports via several daily American
> Eagle flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico from the Punta Cana and Santiago
> airports.

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Wednesday, 10 April 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 1. An hour and a half to Samana
> President Hipolito Mejia broke ground yesterday for the new
> 120-kilometer Santo Domingo-Samana highway, which will cut 76
> kilometers from the present shortest route to get to the
> northeastern vacationland. Today it takes four hours to drive from
> Santo Domingo to Samana. The new route means significant savings in
> time and fuel. The highway is scheduled to be completed in three
> years.
> The government awarded a concession to build the highway to
> Dominican-Colombian venture, Autopista del Nordeste. Minister of
> Public Works Miguel Vargas Maldonado announced that the private
> company is responsible for 80% of the estimated RD$2.1 billion cost,
> and the Dominican government will pay for the rest. The company will
> recover its investment by collecting the tollbooth fees over a
> 30-year period.
> Columbia's Minister of Foreign Trade Angela Maria Orozco Gomez also
> attended and spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony.
> The new highway starts at Km. 15 of the Duarte Highway, and goes
> north, past Bayaguana, Monte Plata, Sabana Grande de Boya, south of
> Los Haitises Park, Batey Majagual, and the River Yuna rice fields.
> 8. DutchBird starts flights to the DR
> DutchBird will begin flights to the Dominican Republic later this
> month. The Dutch airline began operations in November 2000 and by
> April 2001 had already acquired its third Boeing 757. The airline
> provides charter flights for tour operators to popular destinations.
> The 5th Dutch airline will operate from Amsterdam (AMS) to Puerto
> Plata (POP) and Punta Cana (PUJ) starting from 23 April 2002, as
> reported by Cristian Garcia to DR1. The Dutch airlines moving the
> most traffic are KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), Martinair Holland (from
> Amsterdam to Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and Santo Domingo), Transavia,
> Air Holland and now DutchBird. For more information on the airline,
> see

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Tuesday, 9 April 2002
> 5. Falconbridge oil spill
> An oil pipeline broke yesterday near Villa Altagracia causing about
> 3,000 gallons of petroleum to spill. The oil contaminated an
> estimated five kilometers of the Caravajal Brook off Batey Lecheria
> and threatened to affect the Haina River, which supplies water to
> Santo Domingo.
> The 70-kilometer pipeline transports petroleum from Haina to Bonao
> where the Falconbridge plant is located. The cause of the leak is
> still unknown, reports Diario Libre.
> Technicians of the company were working with the Ministry of
> Environment and the Dominican Petroleum Refinery on the clean up
> using cistern trucks and other equipment.
> Melvin Paulino, spokesman for Falconbridge, described the situation
> as under control. Listin Diario reported that major damage was done
> to the flora and fauna of the area.
> 6. Tourist air arrivals down 18.7%
> Diario Libre reports that air arrivals of foreigners in the first
> quarter of the year are down 16% when compared to last year. Central
> Bank statistics show that from January to March some 779,461
> passengers arrived by air, or 146,922 fewer than during the same
> period last year. Of the total, foreign non-resident arrivals were
> 615,424 compared to 756,717 in 2001, or an 18.7% decline in
> tourists. Foreigners living in the Dominican Republic make up the
> difference.
> The biggest drop in travel occurred in January with a 24.9% decline,
> followed by February with a 16.1% decline and March with a 6.9%
> decline.
> 7. Mountain climbers were on ecological mission
> Hoy newspaper interviewed the 13 mountain trekkers who were rescued
> from the Cordillera Central last Friday after nine days in the
> mountains. The climbers denied reports that they had entered the
> treacherous zone without being fully prepared.
> The climbers are members of the Club Campestre Sol Saliente and
> their goal was to investigate allegations that crops were being
> planted in the protected reserve and that wild pigs were being
> raised, in violation of the Environment Law. The group explained
> they were working on "Project Four Eyes."
> They said their problems started when one of their members, Osvaldo
> Torres, twisted his ankle. Another team member injured his knee.
> With these two injured, the group was unable to continue through the
> tortuous route and had to call for help.
> They explained that the army team that reached them the day after
> they called for help did not come with food, and so they had to
> share their supplies. They said the rescue helicopters located them
> because they (the trekkers not the army rescue team) carried flares.
> They praised the efforts of the soldiers who helped clear an area so
> the helicopter could rescue them from the Valle Encantado. The
> soldiers cut down around 50 trees to make a clearing.
> They said that next time they would try something easier, like Los
> Haitises or Jose Armando Bermudez Parks.

DR1 wrote:
> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Monday, 8 April 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 1. Dominicans behind Pan Am Games
> 10. Mountain climbers rescued
> The Dominican Army with the assistance of the US Army's Southern
> Command and its MH 60 Black Hawk helicopter were finally able to
> rescue the 13 trekkers who were trapped in a canyon in the
> Cordillera Central. They were rescued Friday afternoon and seven of
> them were immediately flown to the Ramon de Lara Military Hospital
> in Santo Domingo. The others were sent the next day and all were
> sent home in 24 hours. The group of 10 men and three women were in
> the mountains for nine days, five more than planned.
> Colonel Francisco Antonio Ovalle, director of Armed Forces
> Operations (J3), warned that mountain climbers should go only with
> expert guides when hiking in less-traveled areas that don't have
> well-marked trails.
> The group had plans to visit the perilous Valle Encantado and Loma
> El Pichon prior to taking the route out to Bonao to make it back to
> Santo Domingo. On Monday, the group called home for help using a
> cell phone. On Tuesday, a special team of soldiers trained for
> mountain operations (Sexto Batallon de Cazadores de Constanza)
> brought them food and supplies but was unable to remove them from
> the area which was described as a natural trap with a 1,000 meter
> drop under dense vegetation. Many in the group had foot injuries and
> could not handle the difficult terrain to make it back on foot.
> On Wednesday morning an Omaha MH-60 Black Hawk delivered more
> supplies and blankets. On Friday, the soldiers helped the hikers
> reach an area in Loma del Pichon where a clearing was made so that
> the US Southern Command helicopter could rescue the group,
> completing the mission by 5 pm. On Friday, seven were flown to the
> military hospital on a Dominican air force plane. The other six were
> flown to Santo Domingo the next day.
> 13. Beach development for Bani
> Listin Diario reports that the Fundacion para el Desarrollo de la
> Provincia Peravia, a Peravia province development association, has
> announced an investment of US$1 billion in Los Corbanitos beach
> area, near the southwestern city of Bani. Leo Perez Minaya,
> financial director for the foundation, said that in seven to 10
> years three golf courses, four five-star hotels of 250 rooms,
> villas, condominiums and a marina for 400 boats will be built. The
> beach is located an hour west of Santo Domingo.
> 14. Tourism port for Puerto Plata
> A group of businessmen headed by Abraham Selman signed a concession
> with the Dominican government to invest US$25 million in a cruise
> ship terminal for Puerto Plata. The first phase of the project will
> be built near Punta Fortaleza. Initially a north side dock will be
> prepared, but eventually both the north and south side will be used
> for the ships.
> Selman, who is president of the Asociacion de Propietarios de
> Hoteles y Condominios de Playa Dorada, said the work will be
> completed by 2003.
> 15. Orchids exhibition
> The 30th Annual Orchid exhibition will take place 12-14 April at the
> National Botanical Gardens. It will be open from 9 am to 4 pm. The
> exhibition is organized by the Dominican Society of Orchideology,
> which promotes the study, cultivation and research of native
> species.

> DR1 Daily News -- Friday, 5 April 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 1. 13 climbers located, not rescued
> As of Friday morning, the Army has not yet been able to rescue the
> 10 men and three women who got lost on Sunday in their trek through
> the Cordillera Central mountains. They had taken a little-used trail
> and then took wrong turns as they made their way down to Bonao.
> The expedition of mountain climbers from Santo Domingo was lost in
> the Valle Encantado near Pico Duarte. They were located by search
> teams in the Loma el Piñon canyon, which has a 60-degree incline to
> a depth of 1,000 meters. The canyon is 3,000 meters above sea level
> and is forested by trees over 75 feet tall, which has made the
> rescue effort difficult.
> News sources carried conflicting reports yesterday as to whether or
> not they had been rescued. Yesterday afternoon, sources clarified
> that the mountain climbers had been located but the difficulties of
> the terrain and the climate prevented their rescue.
> Reports say the hikers are in good health, but exhausted from
> walking and spending many days and nights in the mountains. Their
> climb began on Thursday, and they were reported missing on Monday.
> The Army was criticized for the delay in the rescue, but mostly for
> the lack of accurate information for the press and the relatives of
> the climbers.
> Reportedly, an Army rescue crew including medical staff is with the
> climbers, and food and supplies have been dropped to them. The crew
> is clearing an area to enable a helicopter to complete the rescue.
> Guides say visibility in the area is difficult after 2 pm.
> 2. Taiwan donation for forests
> Minister of Environment Frank Moya Pons received a US$1.7 million
> donation from the government of Taiwan for its tree-planting
> program. Ambassador Pedro Hsiang of Taiwan explained that the funds
> will be used to build six nurseries where four million seedlings
> will be planted.
> 7. A coup to Ministry of Environment head?
> Ecologist Domingo Abreu Collado warns that interested parties are
> trying to invalidate the work of the Ministry of Environment and
> undermine the authority of Minister Frank Moya Pons or get him
> removed in order to push forward highly lucrative projects that
> violate environmental laws.
> Moya Pons is regarded as a professional who cannot be bought. Abreu
> speculates that to attain their goals, the project promoters are
> lobbying the press.
> Abreu, who is ecology editor of Hoy newspaper, writes in his page
> today that the recent press focus on the extraction of sand from the
> Bani Dunes and the fires in Los Haitises and Mirador del Este Parks
> are part of the plan to undermine the authority of the Environment
> Ministry. He urges the Ministry of Armed Forces to come forth with
> the results of their investigations.
> Abreu Collado says that behind everything are events such as the
> issuing of Decree 36-02 by President Hipolito Mejia. He speculates
> that the President did not read what he signed. He explains the
> decree gives extraordinary powers to the new Cemento Andino company,
> which has been granted a concession in Pedernales by the
> government's Unidad Corporativa Minera. He speculates the decree was
> written up by the company itself and not by government officers
> because the overly generous wording grants previously unheard-of
> concessions to the company, in contradiction of the Environmental
> Law.
> Decree 36-02 instructs the Ministry of Environment, the Office for
> the Promotion of Foreign Investment, the Customs Department,
> Ministry of Finance and other government departments to offer all
> their assistance to the company so it can obtain all necessary
> permits. The Environment Law establishes procedures for operation
> that so far the cement company has not fulfilled.
> He says the decree establishes the irregular appropriation of
> property located in the Jaragua National Park, the coastline of Cabo
> Rojo (which has great tourism development potential), and the sale
> of land within the Bahia de las Aguilas Nature Reserve.

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Tuesday, 26 March 2002
> ********************************************************************
> > 3. What's happening in the Bani dunes?
> The Navy put a stop on Saturday to the extraction of sand from the
> southwestern Bani Dunes after the Listin Diario newspaper denounced
> last week the damages to the national park. Area ecologists had
> complained that 50-60 trucks per day were carrying off sand from the
> dunes, and that these had a permit from the Comision de
> Concesionarios de la Corteza Terrestre, a Ministry of Public Works
> department. But Alexis Agramonte, of the Sociedad Ecologica Banileja
> says that the permit should never have been issued because the
> removal of sand from the dunes is outlawed. The same ecological
> groups have denounced that the government has also issued permits
> validating the extraction of construction material from Nizao River.
> The Listin Diario also reports today that the foreign companies
> Cemento Andino and Lecanto (bauxite) that have been authorized by
> the governmental Unidad Corporativa Minera to start construction of
> their plants in Pedernales do not have the due clearance from the
> Ministry of Environment.
> 8. Let's not export taxes
> Arturo Villanueva, executive vice president of the National Hotel &
> Restaurant Association, urged the government to allow tourists to
> claim back the 12% ITBIs tax paid on the purchase of merchandise in
> the DR. The ITBIs tax is the local equivalent of the US sales tax or
> European VAT taxes.
> The main principle is that governments should not charge the tax on
> exports of goods to other countries. Tourist purchases are
> considered exports. Villanueva says this would stimulate trade and
> economic development and would be especially beneficial for Santo
> Domingo. He said there are numerous excellent shopping centers in
> Santo Domingo that are not attracting any tourists. He feels if the
> tourists could get a 12% rebate, shopping in Santo Domingo would
> become more attractive.
> Villanueva wants those visiting the DR to enjoy benefits such as
> available in Europe.
> 9. Peak occupancy at hotels
> Hoy newspaper reports that most hotels are booked for the Easter
> long weekend that starts this Thursday. Reportedly, the hotels have
> been booked 75% by foreign tourists and 25% by domestic travelers.
> Arturo Villanueva, executive vice president of the National Hotel &
> Restaurant Association, said that the demand for hotel rooms has
> exceeded the supply. There are an estimated 54,000 hotel rooms. He
> explained that thousands of Dominicans travel to the inner towns to
> visit their relatives and do domestic tourism during the Easter
> Week.

> DR1 Daily News -- Monday, 25 March 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 9. Blue flag for Bayahibe
> The Bayahibe-La Romana Association of hotels wants the
> Bayahibe-Dominicus beaches to become the first Blue Flag beaches in
> the Caribbean. Expert marine biologists recently carried out a
> viability study at the beach, as a first step for the beaches to
> quality for the exclusive eco-label that has been awarded to about
> 2,750 beaches and marinas in 22 countries across Europe and South
> Africa in 2001. But as of yet, no Caribbean beach has received the
> award. The Blue Flag Campaign is owned and run by the independent
> non-profit organization Foundation for Environmental Education
> (FEE).
> Dr. Gilliam Cambers, Dr. Francisco Geraldes and Dr. Alida Ortiz were
> in charge of the beach study.
> Blue Flag is a certification program for beaches in which beaches
> that comply with a series of strict and specific criteria such as
> water quality, cleanliness and security are granted the right to use
> and fly the Blue Flag. The Blue Flag has become a symbol of quality
> in European coasts (where the initiative was born).
> Arturo Villanueva, executive vice president of the National Hotel &
> Restaurant Association said that the certificate increases the
> desirability of a destination.
> The evaluation of the beach is part of the general Greening Bayahibe
> program implemented by the Bayahibe-La Romana Hotel Association and
> the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism with economic support
> from the EU-ACP Business Assistance Scheme of the European Union.

DR1 Daily News -- Thursday, 21 March 2002

7. Easter Week preparations
Easter Week is the peak vacation time for Dominicans. Will school
closing this coming Monday, thousands will head from the cities to
the towns for the week-long holiday. The time to avoid being on the
road is on Thursday afternoon and on the returning Easter Sunday
Radhames Lora Salcedo, head of the civil defense and emergency
operation forces, said that 70,000 men and women would participate
in the safe Easter Week operation. Some 750 emergency stations are
being set up in vacation spots and along highways.
Lora said they would be alerting drivers against drunk driving and
hand held cellular phones, and in favor of the obligatory use of
seat belts on the road.
The use of jet skis is banned nationwide for the week.
The government also announced the closing of beaches and watering
spots that are considered especially risky when visited by large
crowds. Vigilance will be stationed to explain to visitors the areas
are off limits from Thursday, 28 March to Monday, 1 April. The
closed beach areas are:
Santo Domingo: Guibia, Manresa, Playa de Juancho, La Playita, Los
Gringos beaches.
San Cristobal: Los Cañones de Nigua, Puente de Nigua, Boca de Nigua,
Los Cuadritos
San Pedro de Macoris: Playa del Muerto, Las Saldinas, Hawaii,
Morota, Villa del Mar, El Muelle
Samana: Playa de los Mesias, boca del Limon, Playa del Valle, Playa
Frances, Chiguela, Gran Estero
Barahona: Los Patos, Saladilla, Palito Seco, Del Caño, San Rafael
La Romana: Chavon, Tres Colitas
Puerto Plata: El Canal, Sand Castle, Encuentro, La Bombita, La
Nagua: Independencia
The better known river vacation spots that will be closed include
the El Salto de Jimenoa in Jarabacoa, Boca de Chavon in La Romana,
and Hatillo Dam.

> DR1 Daily News -- Thursday, 7 March 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 8. American Airlines to add new flights
> American Airlines has announced that as of 15 June it will begin a
> Santiago-Miami route at the soon-to-open Cibao International
> Airport. It will also offer Santo Domingo-Boston and Punta Cana-New
> York routes, as reported in El Caribe newspaper. AA has
> traditionally been highly profitable in the DR given its dominance
> of the market.
> 9. Pan Am to fly again to DR
> Pan American Airways is about to try a second time for a Latin
> American comeback. The airline is laying the groundwork for a major
> expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean, using the smaller
> suburban airport, the Orlando Sanford International Airport as its
> base. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the company would be using
> Boeing 727-200s purchased from United Airlines for flights to the
> Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas within months.
> Pan Am president Dave Fink met with President Hipolito Mejia on
> Tuesday to arrange commercial flights into the DR. In the interview
> with the Orlando Sentinel, Fink said, "We look at South America and
> the Caribbean as a growth area. We met with the president and he was
> so excited and refreshing, it gave us a real spark."
> New Hampshire-based Guilford Transportation Industries acquired the
> bankrupt Pan Am in 1998.
> For more on this story:
> 10. Tourism industry woes
> As reported in El Caribe, Ramon Prieto, president of the National
> Hotel & Restaurant Association, spoke up again for the strengthening
> of the DR's tourism industry. At a seminar on tourism in a global
> world held at the Madre y Maestra Catholic University, he criticized
> the lack of a coherent plan and political will behind the industry.
> He pointed out that the industry represents 20% of the Gross
> Domestic Product.
> He said the industry is in the hands of tour operators who take
> advantage of the present problems to increase their power to
> manipulate rates. He said making matters worse is the oversupply of
> hotel rooms, when Dominican rates are already the lowest in the
> region.
> He criticized that the country has become a destination for low
> budget tourism. "The country has never invested the minimum
> necessary nor has it handled itself with professional criteria to
> develop and sustain a strong image, not even in times of crisis," he
> said. He said the country earned US$400 million less in 2001 because
> of a decline in travel. He said if measures are not taken this year,
> the country could lose another US$400 million, which would wipe out
> the positive effects of the US$500 million in sovereign bonds.
> As reported in Diario Libre newspaper, Prieto also mentioned the
> extraordinarily high cost of power in the DR (costing 11% of tourism
> revenues) and the hefty taxes and social benefits that eat up
> another 23.5% of gross revenues.
> Prieto said the industry's profitability depends on generating large
> numbers of travelers.

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Thursday, 21 February 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 11. CHA president on Bahia de las Aguilas
> Simon Suarez, president of the Caribbean Hotel Association, favors
> keeping hotels and resorts out of the Bahia de las Aguilas beach.
> Rumbo Magazine recently said that while Decree 273-01 issued by the
> Mejia administration is still in effect, the government could choose
> to develop the area from Oviedo Lagoon to Pedernales Beach. Suarez,
> who is from the DR, supports allowing day visits only to the
> white-sand beach described as a fragile ecological reserve.
> The formula has worked for Saona Island in the east, where hotel
> development has been banned. Saona receives hundreds of thousands of
> visitors annually who are attracted by its lack of development.

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Tuesday, 19 February 2002
> 8. Let the market decide how many hotel rooms to build
> Minister of Tourism Rafael Subervi Bonilla told Hoy newspaper that
> he does not favor regulating the growth of hotel rooms in the
> country. He feels this would restrain needed foreign investment and
> cause a stagnation of the economy. He said the constitution
> guarantees freedom of doing business. He feels the country has the
> capacity for more hotel rooms and that the government and the
> private sector need to invest in promotion and regulate the quality
> of the hotel products. Subervi favors a US$30-35 million budget to
> promote tourism. He also mentioned that Mexico and Cuba continue to
> increase their hotel inventory.
> Subervi said that in these days of global commerce, five-star hotel
> chains cannot be banned from entering the Dominican travel market.
> Recently, the president of the Hotel Association, Ramon Prieto,
> urged the government to restrain hotel construction, saying a
> general slow down in the economy, worsened by recent tragic events,
> have produced a downturn in demand worldwide. He recommends putting
> a halt to construction until the demand picks up again.
> Likewise, the president of the Association of Eastern Hotels Ernesto
> Veloz said the decline in occupancy is a sign that there are more
> hotel rooms being offered than the international market is
> demanding. He recommended a moratorium on the construction of new
> rooms, with the exception of projects already approved by the
> Ministry.
> 9. Plan to improve Sosua Beach
> The president of the Association of Hotels of Sosua and Cabarete,
> Iris Perez announced the implementation of a plan to improve Sosua
> beach in Puerto Plata. She said the plan is to improve the
> landscaping, build a parking lot, and a plaza for the vendors.
> Dozens of vendors' shacks dot the north coast beach. The Amhsa
> Marina hotel chain will develop the project and it will be headed by
> Cecilio Mercedes, himself a former president of the regional hotel
> association.

> DR1 Daily News -- Monday, 18 February 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 5. Hotel offer far exceeds demand
> Ramon Prieto, president of the National Association of Hotels &
> Restaurants, again urged the government to restrain the growth of
> the hotel sector in the DR. Prieto told El Caribe newspaper that
> neither the private sector nor the official sector have taken action
> to stop the growth in hotel rooms. He raised the red flag of the
> drop in demand. He said the Dominican Republic already has 54,000
> hotel rooms in operation, the largest supply of any Caribbean
> island. Another 4,172 rooms are under construction, including 1,642
> in Puerto Plata (north coast) and 1,253 in Punta Cana (east coast).

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Thursday, 14 February 2002

> 8. Fewer travelers in January
> Listin Diario reports today on air arrivals at the country's
> principal airports. The January statistics show a significant
> decline in travel, in line with a general downturn in travel
> worldwide.
> Travel statistics for January 2002 compared to January 2001 at the
> main airports is as follows:
> Las Americas (Santo Domingo): 44,067 (2002), down from 60,432 last
> year. A 27% drop.
> Puerto Plata: 45,923 travelers, down from 70,603 in 2001, for a 35%
> decline.
> La Romana: (new airport): 21,044 arrivals in 2002, up from 15,158
> arrivals in 2001. The 28% increase is attributed to the opening of a
> new airport facility and the arrival of more charter flights.
> Punta Cana: 66,615 travelers, down from 99,350 in 2001, for a 33%
> decrease.
> The decline in arrivals is primarily due to external factors. In
> addition to the recession in Europe and the United States, travel to
> the Dominican Republic was impacted by the Argentine crisis, the 11
> September attacks and the 12 November crash of flight AA587.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [dominican] DR worries about tourism
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 19:21:07 EST

Dominican Republic worries over tourism slump

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Tourism in the
Dominican Republic, which fuels the Caribbean nation's economy, has not
recovered from the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, a government
official said on Wednesday.

Last year, tourism poured more than $2 billion into the country's
according to central bank figures. But in recent months, the number of
visitors to the Dominican Republic has dropped about 20 percent, Tourism
Minister Rafael Subervi Bonilla said.

The tourism slump, largely due to the Sept. 11 assaults on New York and
Washington that hit travel by North Americans and Europeans, has been
aggravated by current economic and political problems in Argentina and
Venezuela, Subervi Bonilla told reporters.

The tourism outlook for the coming weeks was better, he said, but not as
as the country needs, adding the government was starting an
marketing campaign.

11:32 02-13-02

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Wednesday, 13 February 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 1. Innovation is key to success in tourism
> The Minister of Tourism, in the keynote address during the National
> Tourism Awards ceremony last night, recognized that the authorities
> and the private sector have been conservative in their reaction to
> the present crisis in the industry. Rafael Subervi Bonilla urged the
> industry to learn from the past and find innovative ways to wade
> through the constant and often unfavorable changes in the world
> today.
> "This is the new economic and global world of today, these are the
> rules and we must be on top - assume them, manage them, and create
> every day new solutions to our challenges, strengthening our
> strategies, supporting the growth of our associations, strengthening
> the alliance between public and private sectors," he said.
> Subervi said his department has increased participation in world
> tourism events and promises to contribute US$1 for every half dollar
> the private sector spends on promotion.
> Subervi said his department has ordered a diagnosis of the current
> situation in each DR tourism destination as well as an inventory of
> work that needs to be done in order of priority. The idea, he said,
> is to rationalize the public investment in these areas so the
> President doesn't get petitions every time he visits these areas.
> Subervi said, "The substantial improvement of the environs of the
> tourism areas will make it more possible for the tourist to visit
> these communities and come in contact with the Dominicans on the
> street," said Subervi. "The more they get to know us, the more they
> will come to love us, but that contact has to be a positive
> experience, and for that we need to change these areas to be able to
> foster the social, economic and cultural interaction of the tourists
> with these communities."
> Subervi said the biggest challenge of his department is to create a
> national awareness of the importance of tourism among the population
> and within government.
> For the complete speech in Spanish, see
> 2. Ministry of Tourism annual awards
> The Tourism Ministry announced the annual awards for performance
> during an event held last night at the V Centenario Hotel. Felix
> Felipe and Fernando Gomez of the Barcelo hotel chain were honored as
> the hoteliers of the year. Also honored were the restaurateur of the
> year, travel agent of the year, tour operator of the year, and
> airlines that transported the most passengers. The migration
> inspector and customs inspector of the year were also honored.
> The Ministry this year granted special awards to those considered to
> be pioneers in the development of the nation's tourism destinations.
> Pioneers in tourism development:
> Julio Schiffino, Barahona.
> Frank Rainieri, Serge Trigano, Punta Cana
> Sebastian Barcelo, Bavaro
> Santiago Ramos, Boca Chica
> Manuel Arturo Peña, Portillo
> Ettore Colussi, Bayahibe
> Omar Bros, Punta Rucia
> Orlando Alvarado, Rio San Juan
> Pablo Piñeyro, Playa Magante (Bahia Principe)
> Manuel Henriquez Reyes (Pinar Dorado)
> Jose Angel Rodriguez (Jarabacoa)
> Anselmo Paulino (Playa Dorada)
> Posthumous awards:
> Isidoro and Blanca Rainieri, Puerto Plata, Santiago - Gran Hotel del
> Comercio
> Alvaro Carta, La Romana hotel development, Casa de Campo
> Dino Riggio, Santiago, Hotel Mercedes
> Jose Antonio Jimenez, Juan Dolio, Playa Real resort.
> Ernesto Benitez, Santo Domingo, Hotel Fausto
> Manuel Ramon Viñas, Cabarete, Cabañas Sol y Mar
> Association awards:
> Tour Operator of the Year: Linette Arbaje (Arbaje Tours)
> Most passengers transported from Las Americas, La Romana and Puerto
> Plata international airports: American Airlines
> Most passengers transported from Punta Cana international airport:
> Condor.
> Migration inspector of the year: Belkis Mateo
> Customs inspector of the year: Pedro Balcacer
> Hotelier of the Year: Felix Felipe, Fernando Gomez, Barcelo
> Tourist Guide of the Year: Fabio Garcia Lopez
> Tourism Police Officer of the Year: Lieutenant Colonel Minoro
> Matsunaga
> Travel Agent of the Year: Evelyn Vicente
> Restaurateur of the Year: Elizabeth Schecker de Arias, Scherezade
> Restaurant
> Travel Writer of the Year: Yaniris Felipe, Listin Diario
> Grand Tourism Prize Winners:
> Luis Augusto Caminero, Bohio Magazine, travel writing
> Jose Manuel Lovaton, hotelier, Hotel Embajador
> Victor Mendez Capellan, Vimenca travel agency
> Angel Miolan and Pedro Morales Troncoso, former tourism directors
> Andres Zapata Moreno, Great Alexander Liburd, Julio Manuel Diaz
> Valdez and Vinicio Garcia Sala, taxi drivers.
> Cesar Namnum and Ana Green, tour guides
> Noel Valette, jewelry and gift shop entrepreneur
> Fidelina Pimentel and Rosalinda Thomas, tour operators
> Posthumous awards were made to:
> Alejandro (Candito) Alma (Hotel Comercial)
> Marito Bonetti (Hotel Naco)
> Danilo Vicioso (The Santo Domingo News).
> In the morning, President Hipolito Mejia received those honored at
> the National Palace and highlighted the vision of those honored and
> everyone's right to dream.
> 4. New tourist card entry
> President Hipolito Mejia issued a decree yesterday that authorizes
> citizens from Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala
> and Honduras to enter the DR by purchasing a US$10 tourist card.
> These nationals previously required a tourist visa.

> DR1 Daily News -- Thursday, 24 January 2002
> 9. Tourism stats for Punta Cana
> El Caribe reports that 921,444 foreign travelers arrived at Punta
> Cana International Airport in 2001. This is 3.6% or 32,601 more
> tourists than in 2000. This growth is noteworthy in light of the
> downward effect on travel resulting from the tragic events of 11
> September and the AA587 flight crash
> of 12 November.
> The newspaper says air arrival statistics in general show that
> foreign arrivals through Punta Cana made up 40% of the total foreign
> arrivals to the DR.
> The newspaper says that hotel occupancy in the area has averaged
> around 70%. March was a peak month for travel to Punta Cana last
> year, with 111,009 arrivals, up 25% over the previous year.
> Air arrival stats show that Germany, US, Canada, Spain, France,
> Puerto Rico, and Argentina are the main sources of Punta Cana
> tourists.
> 10. Handicraft Center for Bayahibe-Dominicus
> The Association of Hotels of La Romana-Bayahibe (ASAVEBA) will build
> an arts and crafts commercial area for La Romana vendors. The plaza
> is expected to become a main attraction in the area. The Association
> has set aside a 4,000 square meter lot for the plaza and has agreed
> to offer bus transportation to the site from area hotels. Meanwhile,
> arts and crafts vendors agree to only sell their wares in tents
> provided by the Ministry of Tourism.
> 11. Hertell advocates alternatives to all-inclusives
> US Ambassador Hans Hertell, speaking at the American Chamber of
> Commerce January luncheon, said that all-inclusive resorts are an
> obstacle to the development of US tourism in the country. He said
> that US tourists prefer the freedom of choosing where to eat and
> spend their time. "Individual tourists like their independence, they
> like being able to eat at different restaurants every night, renting
> a vehicle and visiting area attractions," he explained.
> Punta Cana, an area where all-inclusive resorts prevail, is one of
> the top Caribbean destinations for US travelers.
> 13. Mexicana offers great fares to Miami
> Mexicana is advertising low fares to Miami from Santo Domingo. The
> company is offering a US$199 round trip, considerably lower than
> American Airlines fares on the route. AA is the dominant carrier on
> that route.
> The flight leaves Santo Domingo at 7:20 am, arriving in Miami at
> 8:35 am.
> The departure flight leaves Miami at 8:30 pm, arriving in Santo
> Domingo at 11:40 pm.

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Friday, 18 January 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 5. Record decline in hotel occupancy
> El Caribe newspaper reports on statistics that show the number of
> visitor arrivals last year was down 6.7% and hotel occupancy in
> general declined 4% from the previous year.
> Air arrivals in 2000 were 2,459,586 visitors, which declined to
> 2,294,121 in 2001. Average hotel occupancy in 2000 was 70.2%. Last
> year, it declined to 66.3%. Occupancy in December of 2001 was a low
> 55.1%.
> Samana was the area to suffer the most. It averaged 44% last year in
> occupancy, down 22.1% compared to 2000. Samana particularly suffered
> from declines in the German travel market due to the slowdown in the
> European economy.
> Sosua-Cabarete in Puerto Plata also suffered a decline in hotel
> occupancy from 74.7% in 2000 to 60.3% in 2001. Sosua-Cabarete was
> especially affected by the cancellation of budget flights from
> Europe, the result of changes in the European aviation industry.
> Playa Dorada in Puerto Plata fared better. It posted occupancy of
> 67%, the same as in 2000.
> The immediate after-effects of the 11 September crisis were
> apparent. The worst occupancy of the year occurred in October, when
> occupancy declined to 52%. Since September, air arrivals have been
> dropping drastically, reports El Caribe. In September, air arrivals
> declined 16.4%, in October 22.1%, November 27% compared to 2000.
> Romana-Bayahibe and Punta Cana showed the best occupancy last year,
> with 73.8% and 68.2% respectively.
> 6. DR still does better than rest of Caribbean
> Minister of Tourism Rafael Subervi Bonilla said that despite the
> drastic decline in travel, the DR fared better in 2001 than other
> leading destinations. He mentioned Cuba and Jamaica and said that
> prospects for the DR are good. He commented that his department has
> studied 97 petitions for construction of new hotels, for an
> estimated RD$1.7 billion investment. The hotel projects would go up
> in Boca Chica, San Pedro de Macoris, Bayahibe, Puerto Plata, La
> Altagracia (Punta Cana), Samana, Jarabacoa, Barahona, and Rio San
> Juan. Hotel Association president Ramon Prieto has urged the
> government to discourage new hotel construction given the current
> surplus of rooms due to the lull in demand.

> DR1 Daily News -- Tuesday, 15 January 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 11. Whale-watching in Samana
> The whale-watching season officially begins today. The
> two-month-long season of frolicking giant whales is an exciting time
> of the year to visit Samana province. Ken De Pree, for years the
> DR1's whale-watching expert, tells you how to go about booking an
> excursion, regardless of where you are staying, and what you will
> see on tour in the just-released DR1 Whale-Watching Page at
> Ken De Pree is the author of "Whales in Samana," a 22-page booklet
> with more than 30 photos of whales, nearly all taken in the Bay of
> Samana. To purchase the booklet, email

> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Friday, 4 January 2002
> ********************************************************************
> 5. Minister of Tourism disputes lack of governmental support for
> Tourism
> Minister of Tourism Rafael Subervi Bonilla disputed the opinion of
> Ramon Prieto, president of the National Hotel & Restaurant
> Association, who said there is a lack of governmental support for
> the tourism sector. Subervi said the sector is doing well and that
> his records show RD$2 billion will be invested by the private sector
> in 2002. Subervi also said the government will be supporting
> international tour operators with US$8 million for the promotion of
> the DR abroad. Furthermore, he announced the opening of new tourism
> offices in Japan and Russia to develop these new markets.
> Prieto had complained that the government has not come up with the
> US$25 million promised after the 11 September attacks. Prieto said
> that travel in December was down 25%, and predicts it will decline
> 20% in January.
> But Subervi says that you cannot compare 2000 with 2001, given the
> unusual events that affected the industry in 2001. Prieto had urged
> the government to take extraordinary measures to counteract those
> events, the slowdown in the US and European economies, and serious
> economic problems in Argentina.
> Hoy newspaper interviewed hotel chains that concurred occupancy in
> December was 40-60%, significantly below the usual 80% occupancy for
> the peak travel season. An Occidental Hotel chain spokesman
> confirmed December occupancy was 40-45%, compared to 100% last year.
> Iberostar reported December occupancy was 64%, but forecasts are for
> 85% occupancy in January. Catalonia reported 50% occupancy in
> December.
> 6. CAB says it has not been partial to American Eagle
> The Civil Aviation Board denies giving special privileges to
> American Eagle. Department head Trajano Moreta Cuevas said, "The CAB
> granted facilities for that airline to fly into Barahona and Herrera
> and authorized additional flights in view of the Christmas season."
> Furthermore, Carlos Alvarez, director of the Airport Department,
> confirmed that his departmental offices at Herrera were ceded to
> American Eagle, given the shortage of space available at the
> terminal. Operations at Herrera will close down this year when the
> new La Isabela Airport under construction to the north of Santo
> Domingo is completed. The airport is under the Aerodom
> administration, the same consortium that manages the Las Americas
> and Puerto Plata international airports.
> ********************************************************************
> DR1 Daily News -- Wednesday, 2 January 2002
> 8. Looking for more support for tourism
> The President of the National Hotel Association, Ramon Prieto said
> that travel fell 25% in December 2001 and could decline 20% in
> January 2002 compared to 2001 statistics. In an interview for Hoy
> newspaper he complained that the government economic team does not
> understand the contribution of the sector to the Dominican economy.
> He complained the government never came forth with the promised
> US$25 million emergency fund to counteract the effects of 11
> September terrorist attack. Tourism here has also suffered from the
> crash of flight AA587 and the slowdown in the US and European
> economies.
> He said the decline in the travel sector means the country will
> receive US$100 million less in revenues for 2001, and if 2002 gets
> off to an equally bad start, this could mean US$200 million less
> this year.
> Tourism had been generating US$3 billion a year in revenues. He said
> the decline also translates into RD$1.8 billion less in taxes paid
> to the government.
> Prieto complained that the economic team of the government has not
> been able to agree on what to do to help the travel sector recover.
> He lamented this is happening while Dominican competitors are
> reacting proactively to the new world situation.
> DR1 Daily News -- Tuesday, 18 December 2001
> ********************************************************************
> 8. Hoteliers urge government to reduce taxes
> The President of the Association of Hotels & Restaurants Ramon
> Prieto and the President of Coral Resorts & Hotels Julio Llibre have
> asked the government to reduce taxes on the tourism sector, as other
> Caribbean destinations have done to compensate for recent world
> events. Prieto said that despite a much-publicized announcement, the
> government never came up with the RD$25 million emergency
> advertising fund it had promised shortly after the 11 September
> attacks.

> DR1 Daily News -- Friday, 14 December 2001
> 5. Travel down in November
> Listin Diario reports that fewer foreign tourists visited the DR in
> November of this year compared to November 2000. Travel was down a
> significant 27.7%, primarily affected by the crash of the AA587
> flight that interrupted traffic to the DR and discouraged many from
> flying.
> >From January to November of this year, there were 2,124,138
> tourists. Traffic for the same period last year was 2,246,088. The
> decline also reflects the loss of visitors caused by the 11
> September events.
> Experts forecast the year will end with an overall decline of 6.4%
> in the flow of visitors. So far, traffic is down 16.8% into Puerto
> Plata, 12.2% into Las Americas (Santo Domingo), 3.7% Punta Cana and
> 3.2% Cibao. However, arrivals into La Romana airport are up 231.6%
> due to the opening of a new airport and the start of new flights.

DR1 Daily News -- Thursday, 13 December 2001
3. Pan Am to restart operations from DR
Minister of Tourism Rafael Subervi said that Pan American will set
up headquarters in Santo Domingo for its Central America and
Caribbean operations. The airline will restart operations with a
fleet of nine planes. The airline will fly from here to the US,
Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.
Subervi also said that Delta Airlines told him they are still
interested in flying to the DR. He also told the Listin Diario that
they are holding talks with Aerolineas Argentinas, which wants to
start regular daily flights from Buenos Aires and Mendoza in
addition to their charters.
As part of measures to promote travel to and from Latin America,
Subervi said in El Caribe that the government would soon announce
that visitors coming from Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama,
Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and several Caribbean islands
would no longer require entrance visas.
Subervi told Hoy newspaper that during the III Summit of the
Association of Caribbean States held in Isla Margarita, Venezuela,
President Mejia and President Miguel Angel Rodriguez of Costa Rica
agreed to establish open skies in order to facilitate air travel
between Central America and the DR.

4. American Eagle flies to Barahona
American Eagle has announced the start of flights to Barahona from
San Juan, Puerto Rico. The airline will operate one daily flight to
Barahona departing at 3:05 and arriving at 4:55. The airline was
also authorized to operate two daily flights to Puerto Rico from
Herrera, one departing at 5:30 pm and another at 10:35 am.
Received on Fri May 03 2002 - 18:24:43 AST

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