August 26, 2003
  • Puerto Plata occupancy up
  • Domestic travel boom
  • Bear Stearns on tourism
  • It’s time to promote agritourism
  • Santo Domingo tourism update
Puerto Plata occupancy up
Hans Dannenberg, director of the Puerto Plata Hotels Association, says that the occupancy in the North Coast hotels is up this year. Tourism in the North Coast is returning to levels prior to the 9/11 phenomenon that caused a pronounced drop in travel to the Caribbean over the 2001-2002 winter season. Dannenberg says this year travel is up 30% so far. He attributed the increase to promotional efforts and the new attractions in the north coast destinations. He mentioned the opening of the new Ocean World Park in Cofresí where tourists can interact with sea fauna. Dannenberg mentioned that Puerto Plata is being rediscovered by British tourists.
Domestic travel boom
With the depreciated peso, Dominicans have turned inland to spend their vacations. August occupancies, especially from Thursday to Sunday has peaked at many hotels all around the country. Hans Dannenberg, of the Puerto Plata Hotel Association, said that in some cases the hotels have had over bookings on the weekends. He told Hoy newspaper that the forecast is for 70-76% occupancies in August, a record for this year in the north coast.
Guavaberry Golf & Country Club announced the launching of its new website that was designed and developed by DR1. Golfers can follow the activities at the Juan Dolio area golf site at
The website takes golf enthusiasts through the 18 holes of the golf course, through the facilities for events and meetings, to meet Mark Clouse the golf pro, and to learn about how to purchase a vacation home at Guavaberry. The website will soon offer the Dominican Republic's first "real" online tee time booking facility. The website promises to keep golfers up to date regarding the developments of the equestrian center and beach club at the golf facility.
Bear Stearns on tourism
The Wall Street brokerage firm reports on the increased tourism flows of the country. Bear Stearns states:
“The sun has shined on the Dominican Republic’s tourism industry since the third quarter 2002. Foreign tourist arrivals rose by 24.9% year over year in July, which brought the total year-to-date improvement over last year to 21%. Almost 1.7 million foreign tourists visited the Dominican Republic between January and July, and August is expected to be another solid month: The Dominican Republic hosted the Panamerican Games between August 1-17, drawing thousands of athletes, media and spectators. Meanwhile, increased tourist arrivals have led to higher hotel occupancy rates (73.8% in first half 2003 compared with 64.1% in first half 2002) and higher foreign exchange inflows, with tourism revenues expanding by more than 18% during first half 2003 (US$1.61 billion in first half 2003 compared with US$1.36 billion in first half 2002.) For more of the report, see Update_082103.pdf
It’s time to promote agritourism
Agronomist Emilio Armando Olivo writes in El Caribe that it’s time that Dominicans start promoting agritourism, or visits to farms for tourists. He mentions that European or US tourists would be interested in visiting farms to learn more about tropical produce. He suggests that local non-governmental agencies, governmental departments and hoteliers become involved. His suggestions for agritourism ventures are:
Puerto Plata. Visit to a garden of tropical fruits where tourists could see different varieties of bananas and get to know exotic fruits such as “buen pan,” “mammon”, “anon.” Another area could be dedicated to sugar cane varieties.
Samana. Visit to a garden with coconut trees and palm trees. Also, collection of heliconias or ornamental plants.
Higuey. Visit to a citric farm, such as the many orange, grapefruit or lime farms in the area. Likewise, visit to a farm to see the production of bromelias.
San Francisco de Macorís. Land of cocoa processing plants. Would take visitors on a tour of these, regardless of whether the plant processed organic or non-organic cocoa.
He says that Baní has possibilities with mangos, Barahona and Mao with plantain farms; Montecristi or Pedernales with cacti; Jarabacoa with wood-cutting trees; Constanza with its flowers; La Romana with its cattle ranching. Also, Elías Piña with its fibers handicrafts, Las Matas de Farfán for its goat cheese; San Juan de la Maguana for its stewed pheasants and chen chén.
He mentions that Jamaica has done well with agritourism and is attracting good numbers of Japanese tourists.
Santo Domingo tourism update
Paola Dimitri, director of the Santo Domingo Hotel Association told El Caribe newspaper that Santo Domingo did benefit from the hosting of the Pan Am Games. She said that for three weeks, hotels enjoyed 87% occupancy. She said this is 17 points more than occupancy for the same period last year. The Association groups 2,300 hotel rooms in the 15 leading hotels, which is 54% of the total rooms in the city, estimated at slightly more than 4,200 rooms.
Dimitri explained that hotel occupancy in Santo Domingo this year has been down. She said this reflects the lull in business, many that have been put aside given the economic instability affecting the country now.
Dimitri said that tourism this year is up 21% for the first seven months of the year when compared to last year. But that when this is compared to 2000, travel is up only 5%, which while low still confirms there has been a recovery.

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