October 21, 2003
  • DR wins in kiteboarding
  • WTO forecasts for 2020
  • Russian tourism spending up
  • Janus faces of Bavaro-Punta Cana
DR wins in kiteboarding
Competing for the Dominican Republic, 19-year old Susanne Mai placed first place in the kiteboarding world championship, Red Bull King of the Air, held mid-October in Maui, Hawaii. Teammate Luciano Gonzalez placed third. The team competed against the best 55 men and 18 women kiteboarders of the world. Mai won the Women's Freestyle division, defeating the 2002 competition's champion. In a press release, by the competition organizers, points out that Mai is relatively new to kiteboarding. She has only been practicing for 1-1/2 years in Cabarete and is already ranked fourth on the PKRA (Professional Kiteboarding Riders Tour). She won a cash prize of US$1,750. Luciano placed third in the Men's Freestyle final standings, and took home US$1,500. Cabarete is ranked by kiteboarders as world's most popular kiteboarding destination. For more information on the competition, see http://www.redbullkingoftheair.com/
WTO forecasts for 2020
The World Tourism Organization forecasts international travel will increase from 703 million travelers at present to 1.6 billion by 2020. The figure comes from the Tourism 2020 Vision report published by the WTO that provides a long-term forecast and assessment of the development of tourism up to the first 20 years of the new millennium. "Experience shows that in the short-term, periods of faster growth (1995, 1996, 2000) alternate with periods of slow growth (2001 and 2002)," states the report. The WTO says that the current slowdown should be compensated in the mid- to long-term. For 2010, travel is forecast to increase to 1 billion travelers, of which 791 would be intraregional travelers, and 216 million would be long-haul travelers. Travel is estimated to leap to 1.5 billion (1.18 billion intraregional and 377 million long-haul) by 2020. Travel in 1995 was at 108.9 million to the Americas, and is expected to increase to 190.4 million by 2010 and to 282.3 million by 2020. Long-haul travel worldwide is forecast to grow faster, at 5.4% per year over the period, while intraregional travel will increase 3.8%.
Russian tourism spending up
Another interesting factoid in the study is that Russia is now ranked tenth among the world's top spenders on international tourism, passing Canada in 2002. The top spenders now are the US, Germany, UK, Japan, France, Italy, China, Netherlands, Hong Kong (China) and the Russian Federation. The fact is published in the World Tourism Organization Tourism 2020 Vision that provides a long-term forecast and assessment of hte development of tourism up to the first 20 years of the new millennium. See WTO.pdf
Janus faces of Bavaro-Punta Cana
With over one billion dollars invested, 18,000 rooms and producing 25% of the Gross Domestic Product, Bavaro and Punta Cana are gems in the Dominican tourist industry. However, according to interviews published in El Caribe, the other side of the coin shows terribly poor local infrastructure consisting of dirt roads, unlighted pathways, and large potholes in the existing roadways. According to Ernesto Veloz, president of the Hotel Association of the East, this is a major drawback for further tourist development and is one of the reasons many times even hotel staff recommend tourists stay within the confines of their hotel. Only recently, an accident involving two small mini-vans was attributed to the poor state of the roadway. Six people died. Veloz warned of the many slums developing around the hotels and that informal waste dumps are growing next to the roadways, sometimes hidden by the tall weeds. The area also houses a growing number of undocumented aliens, mostly Haitians, who also want to be part of the economic boom. Veloz stated that given the official apathy, most services in the area have always been privatized, including electricity, water and water treatment facilities. Veloz says the only governmental activity in the region is to collect taxes. Since Bavaro and Punta Cana are just rural sections of the province of La Altagracia, there are no local municipal councils to speak to, and the large floating population of construction workers and hotel employees makes the creation of a municipality very difficult. The former president of the hotel owners association (ASONAHORES), Rafael Blanco told El Caribe reporters that the private sector would build the necessary infrastructure sourcing funds through the World Bank if the government would allow this to be deducted from taxes. Speaking at the IV Meeting of the Women Business Association, Blanco told his audience that the government should either "do the washing or give us the washboard."

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