July 1, 2003
  • Puerto Rican travel forecast to increase
  • Positive outlook for Caribbean tourism
  • Up to the top of the Caribbean
  • Rancho Baiguate summers
Puerto Rican travel forecast to increase
Tourism Minister Rafael Suberví says he expects Puerto Rican travel to the Dominican Republic this year to exceed 500,000 visitors. As reported by journalist John Collins, Suberví was in San Juan, Puerto Rico last week to meet with tour operators who are selling Dominican vacations this summer. These are focused on the forthcoming Merengue Festival (17 July to 3 August) and the August Pan American Games (1-17 August).
Suberví said that in May nationwide hotel occupancy reached 63%, compared to the normal 35% for the low season month. Tourists are probably taking advantage of the greater buying power of their US dollars versus the depreciating peso.
Suberví also pointed to “a 22% increase in arrivals during the first five months of 2003”, when interviewed by the Puerto Rican press. Subervi said “that jump represents 290,000 more visitors that the previous year.
Journalist Collins explains that last year American Eagle carried 1.9 million passengers of which the five airports in the DR accounted for more than 25% of the total, with around 50 flights a day.
Suberví is betting on Samana as the next popular destination for the Puerto Rican market. He said the larger airport there that is nearing completion will make a big difference.
Subervi said he is opposed to the proposed doubling in the nation’s departure tax ($10) to $20 starting in November. He said it is one of the recommendations of the Monetary Board to increase revenues to cope with the current financial crisis. “If we have to adopt it then so be it,” said Subervi. “There are plenty of destinations in the Caribbean that have departure taxes that are higher and he pointed to Aruba, St. Kitts and St. Maarten, among others, as examples. Besides, they have higher rates in their hotels than we have as well.
Positive outlook for Caribbean tourism
The World Tourism Organization forecasts a strong tourism rebound worldwide and a more positive outlook for the future months. The Panel of Tourism Experts of the WTO are significantly more optimistic on the coming four months. There is the expectation for a gradual improvement in economic conditions, reduction of uncertainty as a result of the relaxation of international tensions, and the waning of SARS. However, late reservations and a noticeable price sensitivy are expected to persist, according to the experts WTO polled. WTO also reports that the trend to individual travel will continue to increase.
The report states that the Caribbean in general is showing clear signs of resurgence, but mentions that the double-digit increases in travel to the Dominican Republic were “impressive.” The DR is listed as receiving 2.8 million arrivals, up an average 19.3% for the first four months of the year. The WTO report also looks into the effect of the appreciation on the euro will have on travel, meaning citizens of the euro area are stimulated to travel to dollar-pegged countries, such as the Dominican Republic. The depreciating Dominican peso is making travel here even more attractive. See http://www.world-tourism.org/
Up to the top of the Caribbean
Hoy newspaper reports how visiting the peak of the tallest mountain range in the Caribbean will soon be more attractive for the less adventurous traveler. The report focuses on the new facilities the Ministry of Environment is building to house visitors to the Duarte Peak or those taking the Hispaniola Trail. A cabaña with capacity to lodge 200 visitors coming with their sleeping bags has been designed to comply with international standards. The refuge will offer garbage and bathroom facilities for 24 persons at the same time, complete with modern sewage facilities to reduce environmental contamination. The cabaña will replace the La Compartición cabaña that was built for forest rangers some 40 years ago in the Parque Nacional J. Armando Bermúdez but was instead used intensively by all mountain trekkers once adventure tourism took off in the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Environment also has under construction a similar refuge at Valle del Tetero in the same Cordillera Central mountain range.
The areas offer day time temperatures of 12 degrees and gorgeous scenery of the top of the Caribbean more than 3,000 meters high.
Rancho Baiguate summers
Rancho Baiguate is the family adventure center of the Caribbean offering outdoor adventures, such as trips to Pico Duarte, for persons of all levels. Located amidst the pine-covered mountains and winding rivers of Jarabacoa, Baiguate is blessed with comfortable 22C (71 F) year round. In the center of the Dominican Republic, Baiguate is a 130 km drive from Puerto Plata or 100 km from Santo Domingo (about two hours). Chosen in 2001 to host the Marlboro Adventure Team competitions, Baiguate’s very professional staff has your safety first as they guide you to experience the adventures of a lifetime. Contact them to prepare a custom-made vacation package for you and your family for a day outing or longer stay.
For more information and contact details, see http://www.dr1.com/directories/tourism/baiguate.shtml

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