December 23, 2003
  • Tourism continues upward
  • A new air link to southern USA
  • Peter Morales Troncoso passes away
  • Personalized tour of the real DR
  • Christmas concerts
Tourism continues upward
The Central Bank reports that tourism is maintaining its upward climb for the year and breaking records in the process. According to the report, 2003 will close with an unprecedented number of visitors. The first 11 months of the year saw a 20.6% increased amount of vacationers over the same period from last year. Through November, there have been 2,496,717 arrivals, thus setting a new record. Punta Cana continues to have the highest rate of occupancy at 84.1%, and the overall rate is pegged at 72.7% -- some 10% above last year. European tourism has risen by 21.8%, reflecting the strong euro currency, and 38.1% of all tourists arrived on charter flights. Of the total, 46.6% of the visitors were from the United States or Canada, 46.3% from Europe and 6.8% from South and Central America and other regions of the Caribbean. Information for December reveals that most hotels are experiencing record occupancies.
A new air link to southern USA
US Airways began non-stop service on 13 December between its Charlotte, North Carolina hub and the southeastern city of La Romana. The Saturday-only flight departs from Charlotte at 10:30am and arrives in La Romana at 2:45pm. Return flights depart La Romana at 4:05pm, arriving in Charlotte at 6:41pm. In a company press release, US Airways vice-president international, Douglas D. Leo, said that the La Romana stop for the airline is about giving their customers more choices in destinations. The airline currently serves 16 destinations in the Caribbean, Latin America, Bermuda and the Bahamas from the Charlotte hub.
Peter Morales Troncoso passes away
One of the pioneers of the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic, Peter Morales Troncoso, passed away last week. As director of tourism, he was one of the first to organize the tourism sector's promotional trips to spread the word that the Dominican Republic was the new Caribbean hot spot. During the government of President Leonel Fernandez, he had been the governor of the Columbus Lighthouse, a role considered indispensable by the University of Indiana, in collaboration with whom Morales Troncoso developed cooperative research opportunities in the DR, especially related to the Taino culture. He was also a former dean of communication at the Universidad Catolica de Santo Domingo. Morales Troncoso succumbed to cancer on 18 December.
Personalized tour of the real DR
Steven Mark, a project analyst for The Seattle Times, had spent seven days of surfing and windsurfing in Cabarete when he decided to take a day off and do some sightseeing. Mark was so moved that he tells the story of his motoconcho tour today in the pages of The Seattle Times. Upon the suggestion of a German local windsurf pro, Mark hires a motoconcho to take him through El Choco, a nearby small mountain. At the end of the day, says Mark, RD$40 had gotten him a personalized tour, lunch and a peek at the "real" Dominican lifestyle.
For the story, see
Christmas concerts
Wrapping up the Christmas season are the final performances of the Banco Popular's traditional showing of the Christmas story "El Milagro de la Navidad" on Thursday, 25 December and Sunday, 28 December in the parking area of its John F. Kennedy Avenue headquarter building at 7:30pm. This year, Banco de Progreso presents its own Villa Navidad, with performances starting at 5:30 pm also taking place on Sundays throughout December, with the final performance set for Sunday, 28 December. Do not miss the Dominican Association of Nativity Scene Creators' 2003 collection of nativity tableaux, on display this year at the Convento de los Dominicos in the Colonial City. And the most classic event of all, the annual Santo Domingo Cathedral Christmas Day concert, performed by the choir of the Cathedral, beckons those who embrace the Christmas spirit. Those interested should arrive by 7pm in order to secure a seat. This year, the group will present the world premiere of "Alegria de Navidad", composed by Maestro Rafael Solano, "The Hour has Come" by Canadian Srul Irving Glick, and the "Cantata 140" by Johann Sebastian Bach, in addition to many other favourite Christmas carols.

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