May 2, 2003 - 13,000+ subscribers and growing!
  • New ferry service starts 1 May 2003
  • Tourism a priority for government
  • Belen Gómez to head city hotel association
  • Learn about the ecology and vacation
  • Long weekend
New ferry service starts 1 May 2003
The Diario Libre announced that beginning next Thursday 1 May there will be a direct ferry service between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo. Ferries del Caribe told reporters from Diario Libre that they had invested US$6.5 million in a new vessel, the M/S Caribbean Express, which has 365 cabins and will cover the Mayaguez-Santo Domingo route, and the M/S Millenium Express, with its 212 cabins, will cover the route of San Juan-Santo Domingo. The company transported 116,200 passengers last year and is looking to carry 89,000 to from the DR to Mayaguez on Puerto Rico’s West Coast, and 125,000 to San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital. The company is promising competitive rates that will make travel by ferry more advantageous than flying.
Tourism a priority for government
Two new tourism bodies have been established, President Hipólito Mejía announced at the closure of the IV National Tourism Convention last night. The Superior Tourism Committee and the National Tourism Promotion Office will bring together private and public sector people in the tourist industry, with the aim of promoting the Dominican tourism sector. Mejía declared that tourism was a "national priority" after being presented with the conclusions of the Tourism Convention by Minister Rafael Suberví Bonilla. The exercise compiled the leading tourism plans carried out over the past 30 years and tourism researchers were sent to the top destinations to gather content on objectives and needs of each area. Dean of Tourism at the APEC University, Luís Felipe Aquino, led the discussions, which were spearheaded by Dominican tourism legend, 90-year-old Don Angel Miolán.
Belen Gómez to head city hotel association
Belen Gómez, of Occidental Hoteles Hotel Embajador, is the new president of the Santo Domingo Hotel Association (2003-2005). She is joined by Jose Corletto (Hotel Plaza), Kurt Schamper (Hotel Santo Domingo-Hispaniola), Aura Dominguez (Hodelpa), Jose Miguel Soto (Naco), Roberto Grissi (Hotel Renaissance Jaragua) and Fanny Sanchez (Hotel Colonial), that make up the association’s new board. Most city hoteliers gathered at the Hotel Embajador on Wednesday evening to formally start off her presidency. During the event, Gómez pointed out that her goals are to promote Santo Domingo as a city destination with its own monuments and natural resources. She says she will focus on promoting the city’s culture and will work to support hotel staff and their growth as professionals. The Santo Domingo Hotel Association dates back to August 1995. Paola Dimitri is the executive director. To contact the association, write to asohot.sdq@codetel.net.do
Learn about the ecology and vacation
Frank Rainieri, president of the Punta Cana Group, announced that the Punta Cana Resort & Golf Club and the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University will be offering a one-week executive program in winter 2004. The Executive Certificate in Environmental Conservation, Economics and Policy combines instruction from recognized environmental scientists and policy makers with the accommodations of a tropical luxury resort dedicated to the philosophy of conservation. Participants will gain an understanding of the scientific, economic and policy issues affecting biological conservation, focusing on implications for business and the private sector. Course work includes optional marine and ground field trips. Participants will take advantage of the modern scientific facilities at the Punta Cana Biodiversity Lab that are operated jointly with Cornell University. For more information, contact Rebecca Johnson at rj136@columbia.edu
Long weekend
Monday, 5 May is a holiday in the Dominican Republic. It celebrates Labor Day, which falls on Thursday, 1 May. The Ministry of Labor announced that it would be celebrated on Monday, instead of on Friday, 2 May. Regardless, hotel occupancy will be at an all time high for the long weekend. Thousands of Dominicans will seek respite from the high temperatures May brings and take off time for family and friends. If headed for one of the popular Dominican travel destinations, travelers are recommended to book in advance. Another recommendation is to return home before noontime on Monday in order to avoid traffic jams at toll booths. While in the past the Dominican government exempted travelers from paying the tolls on peak times on long weekends, after the toll booths were privatized, the companies are not foregoing their revenues.

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