February 3, 2004
  • Plea to save National Parks
  • Tour Operators back plea for National Parks
  • AA matches Delta's first fares to DR
  • Delta, Continental and Northwest alliance
  • Aviation fuel dollarized
Plea to save National Parks
Tourism and environmental conservation groups are raising red flags as to what they are calling unscrupulous sectors in government that seek to allocate a section of the Parque Nacional del Este for the construction of a resort in the south-eastern part of the DR. The groups warn that if this is allowed, the precedent will have been set for the demise of the natural legacy of the nation. Among the more than 30 organizations seeking to put a stop to the plan are the National Hotel & Restaurant Association, several leading tour operators and the Consorcio Ambiental Dominicano, which assembles leading environmental protection groups in the country. "The present national system of protected areas of the Dominican Republic represents irreplaceable national heritage that needs to be protected at all costs from individual interests that seek to monopolize them for private business purposes," state the organizations in a paid advertisement in the press today. The groups mention that the national parks represent the vast biologic and cultural heritage that is a most important gift to future generations. The statement highlights the importance of the national parks as part of the region's ecosystems and their stature as one of the biggest assets for the tourism industry, which at present is the main generator of hard currency for the country. To close the declaration, the tourism and environmental groups alert: "The conservation, study, and promotion of protected areas of the Dominican Republic is a responsibility of all Dominicans and the maintenance of the present limits on national parks as important as the National Park of the East, the Jaragua National Park or the Costa Azul Panoramic Highway are priority matters for the sustenance of a general policy on conservation of natural and cultural resources of our nation." The Mejia government has already sectioned off a part of the Mirador del Sur Park to be used by an affiliate of the Occidental Hotel group, a move that spawned the protest of neighbors, environmental organizations and community groups. Organizations in the Dominican Republic or abroad that support this effort, should write to defensa@parquenacionaldeleste.com or to Mu-Yien Sang de Suarez at susancon@codetel.net.do, Tel. 809 482-4255 or fax 809 482-4325 or visit http://www.parquenacionaldeleste.com.
Tour Operators back plea for National Parks
The Tour Operator's Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (http://www.toinitiative.org/), a network of tour operators committed to sustainable development, announced its support of the effort to put a stop to plans to allocate a portion of the National Park of the East to a private hotel group. As part of this collaboration, tour operators including the Beach Trotters (Spain), Viaggi del Ventaglio (Italy), Hotelplan (Switzerland), FreeWay Adventures (Brazil), and LTU Touristik and World of TUI (Germany), and hotels such as the Punta Cana Resort and Club, Coral Hotels by Hilton, Natura Park, Viva Resorts and Gran Dominicus, have joined ranks with those forming a plea to bring commercial development of the park area to a halt. During a recent meeting, the organization expressed "unanimous concern about the potential threats that the Parque del Este, one of the most important terrestrial and marine parks in the Caribbean, is facing regarding tourism development." Participants of the meeting strongly supported a call for the immediate and complete enforcement of the protected status of the National Park of the East, as well all other natural reserves in the Dominican Republic, and agreed to send a signed declaration to UNESCO and various other institutions, locally and internationally. For more information on this effort, write to Giulia Carbone at gcarbone@unep.fr.
AA matches Delta's first fares to DR
American Airlines has matched the special introductory fares offered by Delta Airlines for flights to the Dominican Republic as of 1 June. Delta Airlines announced on 29 January that it would begin direct flights to the Dominican Republic from John F. Kennedy International in New York City. The decision to fly to Las Americas International in Santo Domingo comes at a time when the airline is announcing it will expand its presence at JFK airport. The SDQ addition is one of eight new destinations added from the NYC airport. Delta will start offering two flights to Las Americas as of June. There is a special offer of US$218 on round-trip fares until 6 February. For more on this story and other breaking airline news, see http://www.dr1.com/forums/.
Delta, Continental and Northwest alliance
The start of Delta Airlines' operations in the Dominican Republic as of this summer makes travel on Continental Airlines, that already flies to the DR, more convenient for Dominicans. As of June, Continental, Delta and Northwest customers will enjoy joint-frequent flyer accrual and redemptions, as well as being able to purchase seats on any codeshare flights offered by the three carriers. On 29 January, Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines announced the expansion of the codeshare service for customers traveling between the United States and 11 destinations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada. Delta announced it would place its code on Continental flights to Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic. Likewise, Delta, Northwest and Continental VIP lounge members would have equal access to the same facilities offered by all three airlines. While Continental, Delta and Northwest continue to operate independently and compete vigorously with each other for customers, the alliance enables each carrier to serve a greater number of customers and preserves service to small communities and those communities' access to broad route networks.
Aviation fuel dollarized
The Ministry of Industry & Commerce announced last week that jet fuel would be sold in dollars in the Dominican Republic. The money would then be made available to the Dominican Refinery of Petroleum for the purchase of aviation fuel. Resolution No. 3, dated 22 January, seeks to solve the recent aviation turbine fuel supply problems. The ministry also announced it would collect taxes on gasoline sales in US dollars. The resolution establishes a maximum price for sales by the distributors of the product - Shell, Texaco and Esso - indicating an effort to avoid significant distortions in price due to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

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