March 21, 2003 - 12,900+ subscribers and growing!
  • Enter and depart with proof of citizenship
  • Central Bank reports good first half March
  • Airlines announce flexible rebooking 
  • Cruises a growing industry in DR
  • Habichuelas con Dulce
Enter and depart with proof of citizenship
The Dominican Republic Department of Migration has not changed its policy of admitting US tourists arriving with and subsequently allowing these to exit the country with the mere presentation of their tourist cards and the same identification documents with which they entered. Migration supervisor Jose Flores at Las Americas International Airport, and Jose Oliva, spokesman for Punta Cana International Airport say there has been no change and dispute that US tourists have been sent to the US Embassy to secure passports prior to being allowed to leave the country, as per a Consular Information Sheet produced by the US State Department. A correction of this misinformation is expected to be forthcoming.
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Central Bank reports good first half March
The Central Bank says that for the first half of March, foreign air arrivals increased 19% compared to the same period in 2002. In January travel had been up 36%, in February 22%. 
So far, the Caribbean had somewhat benefited from the uncertainty, as more US travelers preferred to stay in the neighborhood and have chosen to vacation in the region. Travel operators worldwide are uniting to proactively convince customers that the majority of foreign travel is still safe. Minister of Tourism Rafael Subervi Bonilla has emphasized that he will continue selling the Dominican Republic as a safe destination for travel. 
According to the Central Bank 149,808 foreigners visited from 1-16 March 2003. The Dominican Republic is the Caribbean country with the most foreign air arrivals. 
The Central Bank attributes this rise to competitive price offers, a stronger economy in the US and good promotional work by the Dominican tourist industry in both the private and government sectors.
Airlines announce flexible rebooking
IATA forecasts the war will bring a 15-20% drop in passenger numbers. As airlines worldwide experience a sharp drop in travelers because of the war with Iraq, many hot deals, spring savings and saver fares are being announced, at the same time that new policies are making it easier to travel now. Days before the start of the war, the airlines announced new flexible rebooking or cancellation policies. 
For instance, American Airlines, the leading carrier to the Dominican Republic, is reassuring its passengers that they can change their domestic and international travel plans without standard change fees during the present time of uncertainty. According to the airline, on all international travel (except between Canada and the United States), American will allow customers who purchase tickets between March 7 and March 31, 2003 for travel through December 31, 2003, to change their itinerary one time without paying the standard change fee. 
US Airways is another airline that has announced the implementation of a new flexible travel policy over a 90-day period. The Peace of Mind program allows customers to make changes to itineraries for travel originating 19 March through 17 June without standard change fees.
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Cruises a growing industry in DR
The Dominican Port Authority is expecting 600 cruise liners to visit Dominican ports this year, while travel data for 2002 reveals that this type of tourism has increased by 18.6% since 2001. According to the economic report released by the Central Bank, the port of Santo Domingo and the ferry service from Puerto Rico were the most active, with the ferry service transporting 66,000 tourists last year alone. The port of Sans Souçí received 39,000 tourists and another 22,000 disembarked via Don Diego Gate on the western side of the Ozama River. As a port of entry, La Romana was in second place and Samaná in third. The Central Bank is projecting a 50% increase in cruise traffic for this season, which began in October 2002 and runs until April.
Habichuelas con Dulce
If in the Dominican Republic in March and April, be sure to try to get a taste of the seasonal Dominican treat, “Habichuelas con Dulce”. 
The dish is made at home at this time of the year, and everyone asks for it. The big pots of the pudding-like desert are prepared and portions are then sent out as gifts to neighbors, friends or family. 
Helados Bon also produces for the season a delicious “habichuelas con dulce” sold at its parlors located nationwide. Click here for more details

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