March 7, 2003 - 12,900+ subscribers and growing!
  • Knight-Ridder on DR travel
  • Plan for land use in tourism areas
  • Focus on eco tourism
  • Puerto Plata Carnival
  • What’s on the Calendar?
Knight-Ridder carries story on DR travel
The Knight-Ridder news service has picked up a story by Fort Worth Star-Telegram staff writer Jan Jarvis that encourages tourists visiting the DR to take the tours and see more of the country. The story originally appeared in the 9 February Sunday edition of the publication from Dallas,Texas. The newspaper’s travel editor, Patricia Rodriguez, told DR1 that the story was sent to more than 100 newspapers in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, who may run it from now to a year’s time. Jarvis stayed at a Punta Cana resort, but ventured out to enjoy other beaches, water sports and snorkeling. Her story includes her experiences with Dominican hospitality on visits to Higuey, Saona Island, Altos de Chavon and Santo Domingo (Columbus Lighthouse, Los Tres Ojos and other sites). 
In addition to the Texas newspaper, DR1 has learned that the Chronicle-Herald, the leading newspaper of Halifax, Nova Scotia, also carried the story. The Chronicle-Herald’s travel editor, Eleanor M.R. Gray, tells DR1 that “the Dominican is the No. 1 destination this year for the entire Atlantic region of Canada.” The story ran in the Nova Scotia newspaper on Saturday, 1 March.
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Plan for land use in tourism areas
The National Hotel & Restaurant Association (Asonahores) announced it will present a national tourism development plan during the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE). DATE is the leading trade conference organized to market Dominican travel products to international wholesalers, tour operators, incentive groups, airlines and charter operators. DATE will be held this year from 10-12 April at the Barcelo Bavaro Convention Center in the Punta Cana area. 
The comprehensive master plan to be presented at DATE seeks to become an essential tool for investors in the tourism sector. Upon making the announcement, president of Asonahores Johnny Bernal says the presentation will serve as a consistent and coherent framework for sustained tourism development and will establish formulas for land use, define national parks and reserves, and preempt the violation of ecological guidelines when installing hotels or other touristic businesses. 
“Unfortunately, not only in the tourism sector, but in all productive areas, the rules of the game are changed and that affects the confidence of the investors that makes everyone’s life more difficult,” said Bernal during a press conference held on 5 March to announce the new proposal. 
Bernal also highlighted that travel to the Dominican Republic had declined by 4.5 percent in 2002, which translated into a loss of US$450 million when compared to 2001. He said that 2003 could end with a 5-percent growth if the present improvement in bookings continues and if the US-Iraq war can be averted or its effects lessened. 
Bernal highlighted that so far this year there has been a 36 percent increase in foreign tourist arrivals, compared to 2002. He says that average hotel occupancy is up to 81 percent compared to the 64 percent average posted for this time of the year in 2002. 
Bernal also advocates for an increase in government funding for tourism promotion plans. Click here for more details
Focus on eco tourism
The Ministry of Tourism is holding a three-day conference on eco and rural tourism in at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel in Santo Domingo. The event focuses on how the DR is rapidly becoming a mecca for eco-tourists and adventure travelers of the Caribbean, with attractions in areas such as Constanza and Jarabacoa, Valle Nuevo, and Duarte Peak in the central mountain areas. Isla Beata, the Sierra de Bahoruco, Isla Cabrito, Enriquillo Lake, Bahia de las Aguilas and Cabo Rojo also provide great potential in the Southwest for adventure-seeking travelers. Minister of Tourism Rafael Subervi Bonilla, a native of the southwestern Barahona, emphasized the attractive possibilities for tourists looking for something off the beaten track. During the conference, experts also pointed out that recent studies indicate there are 5,600 species of flora and fauna, and 36 percent are endemic to this island.
Puerto Plata Carnival
Puerto Plata’s very own carnival will take place this Saturday, 8 March. The highlight of the carnival’s parade along the Malecon of Puerto Plata will be the participation of carnival groups from the very successful carnivals of La Vega, Santiago and Santo Domingo held previously. The event is organized by the Ministry of Culture, in conjunction with the city and provincial governments of Puerto Plata. 
Next on Puerto Plata’s festivities calendar are the mid-October Merengue Festival and the Singles Festival that is set for Thanksgiving weekend.
What’s on the Calendar?
DR1.COM published its enhanced Calendar Page this week. The page provides a comprehensive listing of activities open to the general public nationwide. The calendar takes into consideration a wide range of cultural and entertainment activities our readers would enjoy through the next 12 months. March has in store the Santo Domingo Music Festival, Colombia’s Shakira, Brazil’s Egberto Gismonti, Jean Genet’s The Maids, and many more exciting events. As more activities become known and others approach closer, they will be posted on the calendar as well.
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