July 6, 2004
  • All-Star Game includes 14 Dominicans
  • New hotel in Bonao
  • Cuban flag at Presidential Palace
  • Travel confidence is back
All-Star Game includes 14 Dominicans
Fourteen Dominicans will appear on the Major League Baseball team rosters for the All-Star Game scheduled for Tuesday, 13 July in Houston, Texas. Texas second baseman Alfonso Soriano led all players with a record 3,466,447 votes, marking his his third consecutive All-Star Game appearance. Last year, National League St Louis Cardinals first baseman and fellow Dominican Albert Pujols was the leading vote-getter.
Those Dominicans playing for the American League are Alfonso Soriano (Texas Rangers), Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Vladimir Guerrero (Anaheim), Manny Ramirez (Boston Red Sox) and Francisco Cordero (Texas Rangers). American League reserves are Ron Belliard (Cleveland Indians), David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox), Miguel Tejada (Baltimore Orioles), Francisco Cordero (Texas Rangers) and Tony Pena (Kansas City). For the National League, Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs), Albert Pujols (St Louis Cardinals), Armando Benitez (Florida Marlins) and Moises Alou (Chicago Cubs) will take to the field. A record number of ballots were cast for the All-Star choices this year, with 14 million votes entered via the Internet alone.
For the complete game rosters, see http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/news/...
New hotel in Bonao
Bonao, located 85km from Santo Domingo and 70km from Santiago, will soon boast a big city hotel with modern amenities. Hotel entrepreneur Bahamian Mario Wells chose to open the hotel to provide comfortable lodging for those headed to the Candido Bido art museum, the ferry rides at Hatillo Dam, cave exploration, horseback riding, and river and mountain excursions, among other cultural and natural attractions.
While scheduled to open in August, the hotel has begun reaching out to the community to make itself known. Last week, the hotel made a donation of 40 uniforms and 40 pairs of boots to the Bonao Fire Department. “This donation is made on behalf of the Aquarius Hotel, Bar & Restaurant, as a small way of contributing to the growth and wellbeing of the Bonao community, and in particular, as a way of collaborating with the men and women who on a daily basis put their lives at risk while safeguarding the lives and homes of the people of Bonao,” Wells said, upon making the donation. For more information on the new hotel, see
Cuban flag at Presidential Palace
The Cuban flag was hoisted inside the Presidential Palace over the weekend for the filming of scenes from "The Lost City," a film being produced by actor Andy Garcia. The Presidential Palace staff took the weekend off so the government headquarters could be lent out to the filmmakers. The script included loud detonations of explosives inside the Palace, as part of the special effects of the film. The explosions sought to simulate a struggle between guerrillas and military loyal to the late Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
"The Lost City" is based on a novel by Guillermo Cabrera Infante called "Three Trapped Tigers." In the film, which also stars Robert Duvall in the role of the head of Batista's secret police, and Dustin Hoffman in the role of mobster Meyer Lansky, Garcia takes the role of a Havana nightclub owner forced to leave for New York. The political drama recreates Cuba in the late 1950s and the Batista-Castro transition from the point of view of the people who lived there.
The local filming of "The Lost City" is part of an effort to boost the Dominican film industry on the tail of the successes of the "Nueba Yol" and "Perico Ripiao" comedies. Juan Basanta heads the local office that is offering facilities to companies seeking to film here.
Travel confidence is back
The World Tourism Organization last week released the latest issue of the WTO World Tourism Barometer, where data for the first months of 2004 confirm the upward trend already visible at the end of 2003. The WTO says that with the detente of the major geopolitical tensions, in spite of uncertainty all over the world as proven by the recent terrorist attacks, there are signs that travel confidence is back.
The analysis shows that long-haul travel is finally picking up speed, particularly out of Europe. Furthermore, the 230 WTO experts polled from more than 100 countries and territories gave record ratings on the performance of January to April 2004 and prospects for the coming four months of May to August 2004. The WTO Barometer seeks to monitor the short-term evolution of tourism in order to provide the tourism sector with adequate and timely information. It is published in January, June and October.
The Barometer says that destinations in the Caribbean have kept up their very positive performance levels, enjoying the competitive advantage of a weak dollar and the search for known and nearby destinations in the North American generating markets, while North America’s figures continue to improve. Barometer highlights that for the Canadian and American markets, the Caribbean serves as a less expensive alternative to Europe, while for European source markets it offers good value, compensating for the longer distance to be traveled. Statistical analysis showed that almost all main destinations in the region posted positive results. In the early months of 2004, arrivals to Cuba were up 12%, while those to Bahamas and Jamaica had increased 9%. Puerto Rico reported a 6% first-quarter increase and the DR posted an 8% increase over January to May.

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