March 23, 2004
  • Tourism drives DR economy
  • Santo Domingo made easy
  • Travel to DR saves a Scotsman’s life
  • Where tourists are from
  • Golf Suites at Melia Caribe Tropical
  • Dominican wins Pan Am Windsurf Formula
Tourism drives DR economy
Hoy reports that tourism is still one of the most vital pieces of the Dominican economic puzzle. An unusually high growth rate of 29.6% in 2003 indicated an intensification even greater than that during the very first years of tourism. Last year’s growth has been maintained into 2004, with occupancy rates in February averaging 90%. The strong dollar and euro currencies have definitely made the country more attractive to many people. In 2000, tourism grew by 15%, but the 9/11 disaster brought about a drop of 2.4%, while 2002 saw just a 0.9% increase in visitors. According to Central Bank figures, tourism provided 8% of the GDP in 2003. The growth rate for tourism nearly doubled those of the communications sector, which experienced a 15.2% augmentation last year. The impact of tourism is impressive, to say the least. Hotel and restaurant association ASONAHORES and the World Council on Travel and Tourism provide these figures for the Dominican Republic: 164,358 jobs directly related to the industry, or 4.8% of all jobs; and 554,365 jobs indirectly related to tourism, comprising 16.2% of the total job market and 18.8% of the GDP. Tourism is also responsible for 28.3% of the export of goods and services, as well as 24.9% of total capital investment. And, impressive as these figures may be, the occupation rates for areas like Puerto Plata are even more so, having reached 93.1% in 2003 -- an increase of 19.1% over the previous year. While La Romana-Bayahibe grew just 4.1%, its rates were already above 90%, earning it a vigorous occupancy rate of 94.9%.
Santo Domingo made easy
A private European company named Eudom (Equipamientos Urbanos Dominicanos) has embarked on a signposting program that will help tourists get their bearings and better discover the attractions in Santo Domingo. El Caribe reports that the company will be placing signs to help people find where they are going. The Urban Transit Department of the Santo Domingo city government (AND) will be working closely with Eudom to identify key places for their signs. The effort will cost US$2.5 million. Angel Segura, AND’s director of urban transit, explained: “Eudom will provide garbage cans, seating at key bus stops and 300 signs that will be installed as of May at most of the strategic points of the city.” The signage will also tell travelers the names of the main avenues and where they lead. Tourist attractions, such as the Plaza de la Cultura, the Colonial City, the zoo, the botanical gardens and Las Americas International Airport and even the UASD university will get a sign. The cost of the signs will be deducted from the company’s municipal taxes, thus representing a win-win situation.
Travel to DR saves a Scotsman’s life
While the norm is for everyone to point out the flaws in Dominican medicine versus the more sophisticated service available abroad, a story recently carried in Scotland shows how local pragmatism can save lives. Reporter Lesley Richardson of tells the story of 40-year-old Peter Lovesey, who was rushed to a hospital in Puerto Plata shortly after landing. Doctors diagnosed him with a ruptured gall bladder and performed surgery to have it removed. Lovesey said his condition had been ignored for four years, despite having been subject to numerous examinations by several physicians in the UK. He said that while waiting for his flight to the DR he collapsed in pain but was taken to the hospital in Surrey, where doctors found nothing wrong with him and advised him to take his flight.
Where tourists are from
Canada ranked as the No. 1 source market for tourists headed to the Dominican Republic in January 2004. During the first month of this year, 77,249 Canadians visited the DR to make up 28% of the total foreign air arrivals. US tourists were next, with 69,775, or 25.3% of the total. France has moved up to become the third most important source market, with 34,601 arrivals, followed by Germany with 21,313 arrivals, Italy with 14,530, Spain with 13,727 and England with 12,772.
Golf Suites at Melia Caribe Tropical
With the opening of five new golf suites last December 2003, Melia Caribe Tropical is now offering premium deluxe accommodations for golfers and their families visiting Punta Cana. Melia Caribe Tropical now has available 40 spacious and tastefully-decorated golf suites, 30 of which feature one bedroom with a king-size bed, and 10 that have two bedrooms – one with a king-size bed and another with two twin beds. All suites include a living room with sofa-bed and chair, a terrace or balcony, a fully-equipped kitchenette, full bathroom, air conditioning, in-room safe, satellite TV, telephone, parking, snack bar with full American breakfasts and snacks, swimming pool, jacuzzi and more. All amenities are surrounded by the lush tropical gardens and beautiful lakes of the Melia Caribe Tropical. Golfing guests are given preference for tee times at the Cocotal Golf & Country Club’s 27-hole championship course. For more information, see
Dominican wins Pan Am Windsurf Formula
Dominican windsurfer Pablito Guzman won the First Pan American Windsurf Formula Championship held last weekend in Cabarete, Puerto Plata, as reported by Diario Libre. The newspaper lists that Guzman won the leading category, Formula Experience Men. Second and third places went to Emilio Munoz and Samuel Cruz. Jorge Guzman won the Formula Racing category, with second and third places going to Tony Torres and Carlos Cabarete. In the Youth category, Michael Pou was first, followed by Guillaume Pichon. In Free Style, Emilio Garcia placed first, Florant placed second and Samuel Perez was third. Competitors from Canada, Brazil, the United States and the DR took part in the competition.

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