September 16, 2003
  • Airports to have satellite systems
  • Military Base to prepare for civilian traffic
  • Tour operators focus on POP
  • Deluxe villa booking now
  • Canadian tourism up
  • EIU on tourism in DR
  • Presidente Latin Music Festival
Airports to have satellite systems
Carlos Alvarez Guzmán, the head of Civil Aviation, told reporter Julio Jerez Whiskey of El Caribe newspaper that six of the main airports in the Dominican Republic would be equipped with satellite navigation systems beginning in January 2004. These would be the first in Latin America, according to Alvarez. The equipment would come from the German company Condor and entails a cost of US$38,000 for each airport, according to El Caribe. The International Office for Civil Aviation will require that all airports adopt the system by the end of 2004. Alvarez also announced the arrival of five technicians from the FAA to review the status of the Dominican Civil Aviation and attempt to certify whether or not Dominican registered planes can fly into United States territory or not.
Military Base to prepare for civilian traffic
Decree 832-03 authorized the opening up to civilian traffic of the San Isidro Air Base, located east of Ozama River, about 15 minutes from Las Americas International Airport. The airport would accommodate small airplanes that need to be relocated from Herrera International Airport. The land where Herrera is located has been sold for commercial use, now that the Luperón area is being slated as the next Avenida Duarte. Already doing business successfully on Luperón Avenue are the Canal, Sema, Gran Via stores, and many more are expected to open within the next two or three years.
Sources of El Caribe newspaper say that the construction of facilities for commercial flights and hangars for small craft has been incorporated into the plans for the remodeling of the San Isidro air.
The opening of Higuero-La Isabela International Airport has been at a standstill despite the completion of most construction works. Pending is the certification of the airport by international organizations. Drainage and the potential danger of birds that fly over the nearby Duquesa garbage dump are mentioned as the two leading problems delaying the certification. Both these problems were mentioned when the site was chosen during the Fernández government.
The government entrusted a commission to oversee the conversion of the airport to a hybrid operation. Members of the commission are Minister of Environment Frank Moya Pons, Minister of Public Works Miguel Vargas, chief of the Arforce Virgilio Ubaldo Sierra, director of Civil Aviation Carlos Alvarez Guzman and the director of the Airport Department, Carlos Garbriel Garcia.
Tour operators focus on POP
Hans Dannenberg, executive director of the Association of Hotels of Puerto Plata is forecasting a very good winter tourism season for the north coast. He says Apple Vacations, Vacation Express, Go Travel Direct will be the newcomers this year sending charters with tourists from Nashville, Cleveland, Denver, Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee in the USA. Cours Air is booking tourists from France. There will also be new connections from Glasgow, Scotland this year. Dannenberg said Apple Vacations will be flying US tourists into the Puerto Plata International Airport starting December. Vacation Express starts March 2004 sending tourists from the US southeastern coast.
Deluxe villa booking now
Casa Don Fello welcomes bookings for the fall and winter after recently completing a general refurbishing of the six-suite home on the cliff. The home, appropriate for board meetings or those looking for private deluxe accommodations, is located in La Catalina, between the town of Cabrera and the famous Playa Grande beach and golf course. A one-hour drive from the Puerto Plata International Airport, Casa Don Fellow features a roof observatory with a spectacular view. Guests will delight in the food cooked by Doña Juana Duval and in the infinity pool that is an integral part of the villa. For more information on the villa, see
Canadian tourism up
According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, this year will be a boom year for Canadian tourism to the Caribbean. Recent figures released by the CTO Information Managementa nd Research Development show that Canadian travel to the Caribbean is up 36% in the first-quarter of 2003 compared to the same period last year. They indicate that average hotel room revenues have stayed the same.
According to the CTO, the main reason for the increase is the Canadian dollar, which is up 16% versus the US dollar this year - a six year high. However, geographic proximity, safety and weather are also listed as reasons for the increase in travel.
"While the dollar does play a significant role in Canadian's flocking to the Caribbean, geographic proximity and safety amongst novice and experienced travellers should not be overlooked," said CTO manager Andrew Parris. "Tourism performance for 2003 so far demonstrates that we are recovering from the 9/11 crisis in spite of everything else going on in the world right now."
EIU on tourism in DR
The Economist Intelligence Unit reports on what it calls the “notable rebound” tourism in the Dominican Republic is having this year. The EIU analysts attributed the recent growth to attractive hotel prices, the result of the sharp depreciation of the peso since last year. Other factors behind tourism's recovery are a reduced fear of terrorism and the increased promotional work being carried out by the Dominican Republic's Ministry of Tourism, particularly with leading tour operators during major travel fairs. Central Bank statistics show that tourist arrivals for the January-June period in 2003 were 1,404,726, up from 1,167,430 in 2002, and 1,351,812 in 2001. Of the total, 41.4% came from Europe, 31.6% from the United States, 20.2% from Canada.
The most popular destination in the country is the Punta Cana/Bavaro area on the eastern coast. That destination grew by almost 13% over last year. Punta Cana receives 43% of all tourists visiting the Dominican Republic, and its airport is now the leading port of entry in the entire country.
According to EIU, “The solid performance of tourism has contributed to strong expansion in the hotels, bars and restaurants component of GDP, which grew by a whopping 28.8% in the first quarter of 2003 compared with the year before.”
Presidente Latin Music Festival
Tickets went up for sale today to the Presidente Latin Music Festival, three nights of salsa, rock, merengue, bachata, and pop sponsored by Presidente beer. Schedule for the 17-18-19 October presentations is as follows:
Friday, 17 October: Ilegales, Bacilos, Rosario Flores and Juanes.
Saturday, 18 October: Milly Quezada, Ricardo Montaner, Grupo La Ley and Ricardo Arjona.
Sunday, 19 October: Monchy y Alexandra, Grupo Aventura, Gilberto Santa Rosa, El Gran Combo, Sergio Vargas and Chayanne.
Shows start at 6 pm, but the doors to the stadium will be open from 2 pm, so there need not be long lines to get in. Tickets will be for sale at the Banco Popular branches from 15 September, and at the Olympic Stadium from 13 October. Tickets will be RD$225 to RD$350.
Tania Baez and Luis Manuel Aguiló will be the master of ceremonies.

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