August 10, 2004
  • VIP tourists for President inaugural
  • New lighting for colonial city
  • Spirit to the DR?
  • Don’t risk last minute booking this year
VIP tourists for President inaugural
Prince of Asturias Felipe de Borbon and his new wife Letizia will be here for the inauguration of President-elect Leonel Fernandez on Monday, 16 August. Prince Felipe has visited the DR several times and also attended Fernandez’s previous Presidential inauguration in 1996.
The presidents of Costa Rica Abel Pacheco, Nicaragua, Enrique Bolanos Geyer, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil.
A bonus of the visit of President Lula da Silva of Brazil will be the show games played by star players of the five-times world champion Brazil football team. The team arrives on 15 August and is scheduled to train at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Stadium. Included in the expected roster of footballers are Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid, Espana), Ronaldinho (Barcelona, Spain), Kaka and defenseman Cafu (Milan, Italy).
The team is making the stopover in Santo Domingo on its way to play a game for peace in Port-au-Prince. Entry tickets to the game are being swapped for guns.
New lighting for colonial city
The Association of Commercial Banks of the Dominican Republic has donated 351 lamps and necessary equipment to restore full lighting to the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. The banks issued a RD$1.5 million check to the Pro Turismo Cultural movement coordinated by architect manuel del Monte Urraca. President of the ABA, Jose Manuel Lopez Valdes delivered the check. The donation will make possible to restore the evening splendor to the historic part of the city in time for the 16 August change of government, for which several heads of government and VIPS are expected.
Spirit to the DR?
Spirit could join Jet Blue in the offering of low cost travel into the Dominican Republic. The airline recently announced it would increase its service from South Florida to the Caribbean. While unconfirmed, a Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International flight to the DR could be in the future plans for Spirit. The DR is riding an unprecedented wave of popularity in the US market. Continental, US Airways and even American Airlines have expanded service, JetBlue has flown down, Delta is flying in and United has announced flights for December.
Promising good services and prices, Spirit announced it too will defy the previous conventional wisdom in the US that the low cost model won’t work for international flights. Jacob Schorr, the airline’s CEO says the carrier is negotiating with airports and governments on when the new flights could begin. He told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the airline will add “a couple of international destinations each year.” He wants to capitalize on a growing South Florida population (estimated at around one million) from the region who want to visit friends and family. So far, AA has held a monopoly on the route, imposing high rates. Spirit’s advent could change this. The airline is tapping into a US$125 million infusion received in February to help fuel the expansion and buy new planes.
Other reasons adding to the boom in expanded US air service to the Caribbean is that Americans want to vacation closer to home.
Don’t risk last minute booking this year
Canadian travelers are being alerted to not leave booking their vacation time in the Caribbean this winter to last minute. The reason: the increase in European travelers and the resurgence of American travelers to the Caribbean. As reported, destinations like Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic are more appealing to the European traveler than ever before. The value of the Euro makes it affordable for Europeans to travel. European tour operators are willing to pay more for hotel rooms because of the value of the Euro; this is a fact that proprietors know full and well, alerts Jonathan Carroll, of itravel2000. “Canadians can avoid being disappointed by securing their travel arrangements now,” he warns. To encourage early booking, he says that tour operators are providing excellent early booking bonuses to consumers that secure the destination, date and accommodations they want.

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