November 11, 2003
  • Tourism seizes the day
  • Tourism sector announces wage increase
  • IGTM in Punta Cana
  • Golf for a good cause
  • Mixing golf and business
Tourism seizes the day
The fall of the peso, while disastrous for so many, makes the Dominican Republic a very attractive proposition for tourists, and the sector is experiencing a boom, with high hotel occupancy levels. The first ten months of the year saw a record number of tourist arrivals numbering nearly 2,700,000 - the first Caribbean tourist destination to attain this figure. This represents a 21.6% increase on the figure for the equivalent period last year and additional income of US$410 million. The total income for the tourist sector this year is estimated at US$2.78 billion, according to Central Bank statistics. Three million tourists will have visited the Dominican Republic by the end of 2003, and the income generated will rise to well over US$3 billion, according to these projections. The Dominican Republic's main competitors in the region, Cuba and Mexico's Caribbean coast, have seen a lower growth in tourist traffic, 14% and 7% respectively. The average Dominican hotel's occupancy rate for this year is 74%. These improvements can also be attributed to the economic upturn in the US, which sent 25% more tourists this year, as well as the Dominican tourist authorities' promotional work abroad. The stronger euro currency is also a factor in the 22% increase in tourism from Europe. This coming weekend, which is a long weekend for Dominicans, all hotels in the main tourist areas are fully booked.
Tourism sector announces wage increase
Employees in the tourist sector will see a rise in their minimum wages, according to an announcement by the national salaries commission. This means that the monthly minimum wage will go up from RD$3,310 to RD$3,800 - less than US$100 at the current exchange rate.
IGTM in Punta Cana
The event that is touted by the golf industry as the most important trade event of the year, The International Golf Travel Market, will take place in the Dominican Republic from 8-11 December. Say its organizers, “The Dominican Republic is a golfer’s paradise with a combination of outstanding year-round summer weather and varied terrain that will challenge even the most experienced golfer.”
The program of scheduled appointments and fitting social events, combined with the opportunity to get a feel for the country and culture, are included. Also included is the IGTM 2003 Golf Tournament at the Melia Cocotal Golf & Country Club and the Punta Cana Golf Club. Meetings are scheduled for the Barcelo Bavaro Convention Center.
The IGTM is sponsored by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators. As the global trade association for the golf tourism industry, IAGTO represents more than 700 golf tour operators and industry partner members. Membership is open to golf tour operators, national and regional tourist boards, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, specialist golf ground handlers and other golf tourism suppliers. The IGTM is organized by Reed Travel Exhibitions.
For more information, see http://www.igtm.co.uk
Golf for a good cause
The British Embassy in the Dominican Republic is organizing a benefit golfing marathon in collaboration with the British Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic. The golfing marathon is scheduled for 16 January 2004 at the Los Marlins Golf Course/Metro Country Club. UK Ambassador Andy Ashcroft explained at a press conference that golfers will be challenged to play the most holes while walking and carrying their own clubs in a trolley. “Golfers will set out at dawn and may last until the sun goes down, if they are still on foot!” explained Ambassador Ashcroft.
He invited British Chamber of Commerce affiliate companies and those who back the work of the British Chamber of Commerce to purchase one of the 18 holes of the course, or contribute funds for those playing. “The idea is that the more holes you play, the more money we will gather for the causes,” explained the ambassador.
Half of the funds will go to causes supported by British non-governmental organizations working in the Dominican Republic and Plan International and Project Trust. Plan International will use the funds for building a school in the community of Jaquimeyes de Jinova, in San Juan de la Maguana. Project Trust has volunteers working in the most underdeveloped areas of the country.
The British Chamber of Commerce will use the other half of proceeds to promote trade between the UK and the Dominican Republic.
Mixing golf and business
The British Chamber of Commerce announces a British vs. DR golf tournament on occasion of the visit of George Foulkes, president of British Trade Council for the Caribbean. Foulkes is heading a group of British entrepreneurs interested in doing business in the Dominican Republic. The 21-22 February tournament is just part of a series of events scheduled for the visit. Also on the agenda is “The Taste of Scotia”, with the attendance of the Mayor of Glasgow and such events as whisky-tasting and the participation of a band of Scottish bagpipers.

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