|September 23, 2003
- Iberia could return hub to SD?
- Puerto Plata report
- Jazz Festival schedule
- Air Canada to fly to Punta Cana
- National Symphony in NY
could return hub to SD?
The new head of Iberia, Fernando Conte favors moving Iberias hub back
to Santo Domingo, as reported in Diario Libre. Iberia operated a hub at Las Americas
International Airport catering to their Central American and South American passengers
in 1991 only to move to Miami a year later when airport taxes increased. Danilo
del Rosario, head of the Center for Exports and Investments (CEI-RD), who traveled
to Spain with President Mejía and broke the news from Madrid, said the
move back would be transcendental for the country. Del Rosario said Iberia has
made a proposal for returning to the country.
On 1 October, the US suspended its Transit Without Visa and International-to-International
programs that had allowed travelers eight hours to make connections to third
countries. The Homeland Security Department fears some travelers would take advantage
of program loopholes to commit future terrorist acts. The Miami Herald reported
that about 600,000 passengers travelled under the programs last year, many of
them passing through Miami.
Furthermore, and making the Santo Domingo option even more attractive, effective
1 October 2003, the US State Department announced it will require all passport
holders from the 27 countries that participate in the US Visa Waiver Program
to present a machine-readable passport (MRP) or a non-immigrant visa. This will
affect travel for citizens from Australia, Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Brunei,
Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein,
Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom that only through 1 October
can enter the US for 90 days without visa if they have obtained their MRP.
Hans Dannenberg, director of the Puerto Plata Hotel Association, says a
tour of 20 member hotels showed only minor structural damage. He reported the
hotel sector was left unscathed by the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit only
15 kms from Puerto Plata. The earthquake, which was felt at 12;45 am, has been
described as sounding like a train arriving at station as it rippled through
the north coast. Dannenberg said that the worse damage at the hotels occurred
when lamps and television sets fell to the floor.
He commended the tourists who grouped in hotel lobby areas, and the tour operators'
reps who arrived shortly after the shake. He said some tourists staying in second-
and third-floor rooms requested to be relocated to the first floor. Since this
is low season, Dannenberg said the hotels were able to comply with the requests.
While some tourists were obviously jittery during the quake, Dannenberg reported
that by later this morning tourists were back on their way to the beaches and
pools and that the earthquake should have no fundamental impact on tourism in
Puerto Plata, nor should it affect the upcoming Jazz Festival that begins this
weekend in Playa Dorada and continues on to Sosua and Cabarete.
Puerto Plata's international airport was closed briefly for a technical evaluation
and later reopened for normal operations.
Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch visited the North Coast to personally inspect
for damages. Sources say that several public schools suffered major damages and
18,000 school children have been left without classrooms. Ortiz Bosch was Minister
of Education until taking a leave of absence to campaign for the PRD presidential
candidacy. She is actually the Acting President in the absence of President Hipólito
Mejía who is completing a tour of Spain, Israel, Jordan and Holland.
Destinations outside of the north coast have not been affected.
|Jazz Festival schedule
El Bosque Café is accepting bookings for the Friday, 26 September prelude
to the DR Jazz Festival that opens Wednesday, 1 October in Puerto Plata. Organizers
are inviting to come and celebrate. On the evenings program are Roberto
Santana (piano), Carlos Estrada (saxo), Rafelito Suberví (percussion),
Wilson Bencosme (bass). For booking cinner and reservation, call 809 571-2186.
The DR Jazz Festival program features Jose Furito Ríos (Sosua Bay) on
Wednesday, 1 October. Patricia Pereyra (Cabarete Beach) on Thursday, 2 October.
Chichí Peralta (Playa Dorada), on Friday, 3 October. Chucho Valdez (Casa
Marina, Sosua) on Saturday, 4 October. The event is set to close on Sunday, 5
October at the Gran Teatro in Santiago. For more information, see http://drjazzfestival.com
Canada to fly to Punta Cana
Air Canada offers direct flights from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg,
London, Halifax and Moncton in Canada. The first Air Canada Vacations charter
is set to fly in on 26 October connecting Toronto once a week. Montreal follows
on 1 November, with another once a week flight until moving up to two a week
starting 20 December. Ottawa, Winnipeg, London flights start in December, too.
While Halifax service commences in January 2004 and Moncton gets a connection
on February 2004.
Symphony in NY
The National Symphony orchestra will give a guest performance at the Alice
Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, this coming Friday, 26 September. The hall has
capacity for 1,096 persons and is located on the north side of Lincoln Center
Plaza at Broadway and 65th St. Tickets are: US$25-US$45. Maestro Carlos Piantini
will conduct the orchestra. The presentation is part of Dominican Week activities
coordinated by the RVHB law firm. It will be an evening to honor Dominican composers
and their music. Repertoire includes works by Manuel Simó, Luis Mena,
José Dolores Cerón and Bienvenido Bustamante. The event is sponsored
by the Dominican American Chamber of Commerce. For more information, see http://www.rvhb.com