January 27, 2004
  • Nothing stopping La Vega Carnival
  • Cold weather encourages travel
  • 2003 travel statistics
  • Punta Cana-Bavaro lures most tourists
  • Caribbean Baseball Series
Nothing stopping La Vega Carnival
There will be 28 groups less than last year, but nothing will prevent La Vega from celebrating its colorful Sunday February carnival parades, described as the best in the Dominican Republic. The parades of the bedeviled characters bring thousands of visitors to La Vega every year, making the celebration the pride and joy of that central valley city. Some of the costumes weigh as much as 40 pounds and can cost up to US$1,000. The first carnival warm-up is scheduled for Sunday, 1 February. The events are organized by the Union Carnavalesca Vegana (UCAVE). Carnival photo: Paul Gerace.
Cold weather encourages travel
Montreal Gazette reporter Janet Bagnall focuses on travel to the Dominican Republic during the current deep freeze that has beset Canada's East Coast. "When it's this frigid outside, it's time to escape and head south for sun and fun," reads the column, listing the DR high up among its tips for last-minute getaways. "The Dominican Republic, with its wonderful beaches and hot sun, is a favourite winter destination of Montrealers. It may cost less than you think to lounge on a beach." Reporting on Dominican vacations that are available to those booking at the last minute, she writes: "Shifting back to the Caribbean islands, we decided the Dominican Republic was stunning, safe and interesting." Bagnall cites a deluxe resort offering a special price of less than $1,200 per person for one week, found with the help of a travel agent. "You have about 60 seconds to make up your minds," the agent said. "This one is moving fast." To read the complete story, see http://www.canada.com/montreal.
2003 travel statistics
The Central Bank has released their travel statistics for the year 2003, indicating that more than 3.5 million travelers arrived in the DR by air, representing a 14.5% increase over 2002. Of the total, 91.6% were non-residents. Dominicans and residents made up only 8.4% of travelers. A record number of foreign tourists arrived last year (2,758,550 travelers), showing a 19.5% improvement over 2002 and making up 77% of total arrivals, according to the Central Bank. The boom is being attributed in part to the depreciation of the peso and the appreciation of the Euro which made travel to the DR more attractive. Hotel occupancy was 72.7% last year, up almost 10% compared to 2002. The Bavaro-Punta Cana area experienced the best occupancy rates, averaging 84.2% for the year. But the North Coast area - Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada, Costa Dorada and Cofresi - also saw a good year, with a 7.2% growth over 2002. Sosua and Cabarete received 11.2% more visitors in 2003 than in 2002.
Punta Cana-Bavaro lures most tourists
Central Bank statistics for 2003 reinforce the notion that the East Coast is a strong magnet for foreign travel to the Dominican Republic. The year's data shows that Punta Cana International Airport received 47% of all foreign tourists. Las Americas (serving Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, Guayacanes and Santo Domingo) was next with 22%. Puerto Plata's international airport received 18.6% of the total and La Romana followed with 9%. Cibao International Airport (Santiago) received 3.4% and Herrera (in Santo Domingo) was last with 0.3%. For a complete breakdown of 2003 statistics by airport of arrival and month, see http://www.bancentral.gov.do.
Caribbean Baseball Series
See the best of Caribbean baseball, starting this Sunday, 1 February in Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic team, with the Licey Tigers as the favorite to represent the country in the regional series, promises to present a roster of leading Major League ballplayers, as the country does its best to retain the league championship against teams from Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The opening show bills stars Maridalia Hernandez, Hector Acosta (El Torito), Eddy Herrera and Adalgisa Pantaleon, among others.
For more information, see http://www.lidom.com or http://www.beisbolcaribe.com.
Tickets to the Caribbean Series are selling for US$50, US$40 and US$5 for the bleachers.

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