June 22, 2004
  • 3rd in kiteboarding cup
  • Why JetBlue came to the DR
  • More golf courses
  • Travel to DR up
  • Package tour arrivals
  • Sustainable tourism
3rd in kiteboarding cup
Dominican Jose Luis Ciriaco, Puerto Plata-born and bred in Cabarete, placed third in the 14-20 June Cabarete Kiteboarding World Cup event. Ciriaco thus became the first Dominican to be ranked in the world’s top three in the sport. His girlfriend, Cabarete resident Suzi Mai, another contender for one of the top three posts in the women’s division, didn’t make it this time.
Top two winners this year were Jaime Herraiz from Spain, followed by world cup leader, Aaron Hadlow from the UK. In the women’s division, Cindy Mosley defeated Angela Peral from Spain and Kristin Boese from Germany. In an interview for El Caribe newspaper shortly after the tournament finals, third-place winner Ciriaco said that his victory has a message in it for the country. “We are doing different kinds of sports that contribute to the good name of the country in tourism, and that is something that has to be taken into account,” he said, advocating more emphasis on sports tourism. Ciriaco said that next on his competition agenda is a race in the cold waters of Germany.
Mauricio Toscani, president of the PKRA, the Professional Kiteboarders Riders Association, told El Caribe, “This [Cabarete] is the best place in the Caribbean for kiteboarding. Given its natural conditions, it is preferred by kitesurfers the world over,” he said.
He said the future is bright for Dominican kiteboarders, too. “With four competitors among the best 32 in the world, the Dominican Republic is right up there with the best and it is just a matter of time before many kiteboarding athletes take up residence in the country and make this sport their passion and lifestyle. And I have been told many Dominican youths are already very good,” he told El Caribe.
For a photo of Dominican Jose Luis Ciriaco, see:
Results at http://www.cabareteevents.com/kiteboard2004/en/results.html
Why JetBlue came to the DR
JetBlue’s CEO, David Neeleman explained, in an interview with El Caribe newspaper, the reasons why the company chose the Dominican Republic as their first foreign destination. “We are a New York-based company and there is a large Dominican community in New York. We were aware that we had to take that large Dominican public,” he explained. He said that many Dominicans are JetBlue employees and would always talk up the possibility of a DR-bound flight. “Thus, both Santo Domingo and Santiago are two very important cities for us,” he explained.
He is optimistic about the JFK flights begun on 10 June to the Santiago airport and 17 June to Santo Domingo. He said that they started the San Juan, Puerto Rico flight with two flights a day and now offer six daily flights to that city and another to Aguadilla, or seven flights a day to Puerto Rico. He expects a similar success for the Dominican flights – initially three a day.
He feels in addition to serving the Dominican community in the US, the flights also serve the increasing number of US tourists that are choosing to vacation in the DR.
More golf courses
A little more than 15 years ago, there were just a handful of golf courses in the Dominican Republic. Casa de Campo was the most famous, but Santiago, Bonao, Jarabacoa and Puerto Plata all had courses, as did Santo Domingo. Nowadays, courses are springing up all along the East Coast in order to serve the tourist demand for more playing space. The Punta Cana group has just announced the construction of two more courses, Corales and Hacienda, bringing the total to three 18-hole venues in the area. With the addition of the two new courses, the total number of golf courses in the Dominican Republic exceeds two dozen. Famous designers such as Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Robert Trent Jones, Jr have contributed to some of the most impressive golf courses in the world.
As Frank Rainieri showed off his “Master Plan”, he revealed that over this year and the next, more than RD$3.2 billion will have been invested in the project. Government revenues from the hotel and golf destination are expected to reach RD$3.0 billion in three years.
World renowned golfer Nick Faldo has also been mentioned in connection to the construction of golf courses in the east coast of the Dominican Republic.
Travel to DR up
Central Bank statistics indicate that non-resident foreign air arrivals to the Dominican Republic have increased 8.2% from January to May 2004. This is 111,088 more travelers than last year for the same period. The Central Bank attributes the good year to the improvements in the US economy, and to the increased buying power of hard currency to the Dominican peso. Hotel occupancy is up 3.6 percent points to 80.2% during the same period. La Romana/Bayahibe posted hotel occupancies of 88.7%, Punta Cana/Bavaro showed 88.1%, and the Puerto Plata/Sosua/Cabarete improved posting 80.3% occupancy. Puerto Plata had posted a 66.5% occupancy for the same period in 2003. Most tourists came by way of Punta Cana (47.3%), followed by Puerto Plata International (23.7%), Las Americas (17.8%). The Central Bank points out that the eastern part of the country, with its Punta Cana/Bavaro and La Romana/Bayahibe destinations received together 56.3% of all tourists arriving by air to the Dominican Republic.
Package tour arrivals
Of the total 1,589,286 million arrivals to the Dominican Republic from January to May of this year, 947,324 came on board charter flights. This is 11.9% more than for the same January-May period in 2003.
Indeed, Puerto Plata’s international airport primarily serviced charter airlines. Some 273,430 passengers arrived to that terminal on board charter flights, compared to 44,709 passengers on regular flights. Regular flights are primarily used by residents in the area.
Punta Cana International Airport received 562,561 passengers on board charter flights, and 48,356 passengers on regular flights.
Meanwhile, La Romana International received 94,006 passengers on charter flights and 21,886 on regular flights.
Cibao International caters exclusively to passengers arriving on regular flights, with 95,859 arrivals from January to May 2004.
Sustainable tourism
The 6th Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) opens in from 24-28 June in Rodney Bay Village, St. Lucia. Counterpart International, a non-profit international human development organization, organizes the event annually to spread the message of travel and tourism’s importance to bettering the lives of millions. Journalists and editors from the Caribbean, South America, the United States and Britain participate in the design of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean during the conference.
The sixth edition of the conference will examine how the major players can collaborate in "Exploring Tourism: Widening the Boundaries of Caribbean Sustainability."
CMEx seeks to educate the media on travel and tourism, that without question is the most important export sector in the Caribbean region today.
http://www.mediaexchange.info/article.asp?id=865 - Entry4
CMEx organizer Counterpart International is about to begin its first pilot coral gardens program to restore damaged coral reefs in the Dominican Republic. The organization that is headquartered in Washington, D.C. has programs in 60 countries.

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