December 2, 2003
  • Christmas gifts
  • Travel problems
  • DR is hot this winter
  • Golf marketers and press are coming
  • The Russians are on their way
  • No. 1 jazz album
Christmas gifts
The Customs Department has announced that the customary tax exemption on gifts valuing up to US$1,000 brought in by passengers arriving for the holidays begins today, 1 December. While the measure is limited to Dominican nationals who have not entered the country in the past six months, airport authorities are known to be lenient in this practice and will usually allow all gifts through at this time of the year without assessment. The exemption will remain in effect until 7 January.
Travel problems
Aeromar Airlines has suspended its operations, according to El Nacional newspaper, leaving hundreds of passengers looking for flights to and from New York City and Miami. According to airline sources, Aeromar is facing a series of debts with airport officials at John F. Kennedy International, as well as with the Civil Aviation Board, the Airport Authority and AERODOM, the operator for Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata international airports. Some reports say the airline has been able to place a number of its passengers on Air Santo Domingo flights. No official word was available from AEROMAR personnel.
DR is hot this winter
According to Hans Dannenberg, marketing advisor to the Tourism Ministry, an excellent winter season is in store, judging by the enthusiasm of tour operators and travel agents participating in the World Travel Market in London, UK. Bookings are running strong for Punta Cana hotels, and Puerto Plata expects to have its best year in many. Edward Light, for TUI, says that 60% of the season is already sold out, which is 27% more than bookings for this time last year. He explains that the North Coast is surprising many, with demand up considerably. Light says he would like to see more night time activities scheduled for Puerto Plata. Jeannette Linfood and Ann Ashley of Travel Cook say that summer 2004 is looking very good, also. They explain that UK travelers are now booking more long-haul trips, explaining the 30% increase there.
Golf marketers and press are coming
Peter Walton, of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, says that 40 golf travel writers will be on hand to cover the International Golf Travel Market to be held at the Barcelo Bavaro Convention Center 8-11 December. The journalists will be able to check out golf courses and golf-promoting hotels all around the country. The IGTM is touted by the golf industry as the most important trade event of the year for the sport.
The Russians are on their way
Mila Granik of Capitol Tours from Russia confirmed that the Punta Cana-Moscow flight is a sealed deal. The charter flight will land at the Punta Cana International Airport starting 27 December, carrying with it new batches of Russian tourists every two weeks. This is not a first for chartered flights from Russia, however, as they tested the market by flying into Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo sporadically in 1996 and 1997.
No. 1 jazz album
The Dominican Republic is not just about merengue, bachata and salsa. Michel Camilo, the jazz pianist from the Dominican Republic, has seen his latest album, “Live at the Blue Note”, leading the international jazz ranks for the past month, according to Jazz Week magazine. Camilo told El Caribe reporters that his CD was only one of fifty listed by Jazz Week and that he was very happy to see it in the number one spot. The CD, which Camilo has called “a self-portrait”, was produced at the Blue Note last March, during the pianist’s annual tour of the New York club scene. His trio of musicians includes bass player Charlie Flores and drummer Horacio “el Negro” Hernández. El Caribe reporter Limay González also talked to Camilo about his Berklee Scholarship Program. This coming year the scholarship will be even better-funded, said the artist, informing that the problems experienced with study visas have been overcome. http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/

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