September 28, 2004
  • Zoe Saldana comes for Dominican movie
  • New tourism minister speaks up
  • 2004 Red Bull Queen of the Air
  • DR1 in the USA Today
  • Constant updates on hotel status
Zoe Saldana comes for Dominican movie
Zoe Saldana, of “The Terminal”, “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Center Stage” fame, will be in the Dominican Republic in October in the lead role in the film, “La maldicion del padre Cardona,” a romantic comedy produced by Dominican Felix German production. New Jersey-born to Dominican parents, Saldana lived many years in the DR where she polished her dance skills. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) authorized her to participate in the film. German said Saldana will arrive on 15 October for the filming that starts 29 October to December. Filming will be four weeks in the mountain town of Constanza and one week in Santo Domingo. The comedy tells the story of a priest who arrives to a town heeding a call to exorcise the devil and then falls in love with a town girl and has to battle his own internal devils. Co star will be Dominican actor Anthony Alvarez, who presently lives in Mexico. Also acting are Freddy Beras Goico, Koldo (as father Cardona), Monina Sola and Ivan Garcia.
New tourism minister speaks up
In an interview with Diario Libre, Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez advanced that his department has plans to hire a Spanish advertising agency to handle Dominican travel advertising in Spain. Likewise, he said that President Leonel Fernandez himself recommended an advertising company located in Florida to be in charge of advertising in the United States and Canada.
When asked about the construction of hotels within the Park of the East, he said that he would leave that matter up to the Ministry of Environment. He said that Tourism has the second opinion, as investors first need an environmental permission to build. He described the investors as “very aggressive” to the point they awakened concern mostly in the private sector.
Regarding the development of ecotourism in the Bahia de las Aguilas he mentioned that ecotourism is a very small market that makes up only 1% of all travel. He deemed it “interesting.” “I am not appalled that the DR is known as a sun and beach destination,” he said, arguing that Spain receives more than 40 million travelers a year that arrive seeking sun and beach. He said that in October a mission would come to prepare a project for the development of the Dominican southwest and the Haitian southeast. “The financial assistance for the development of the border requires that joint projects be carried out. That each have of their own, yes, but the investments in tourism are multinational,” he explained.
He told the newspaper that he would concentrate on achieving a better balance in tourism, and providing more complementary attractions. “I continue to be a defender that the less developed tourism poles should have incentives, and especially for the complementary attractions. What the state does not receive because it installs a theme park, a marina, a golf course, are peanuts in comparison to the benefits it receives,” he said.
He called Samana a sleeping destination. He said he had met with the people of Aerodom who said they would resume the airport in coming months. He said that the good news is that he has paralyzed tourism investments in Las Terrenas in order to prepare a master plan for the development of the area, a contribution of French urban planners. He said they will arrive in October. He said it is important to avoid that slums develop in Samana.
Regarding Santo Domingo, he explained that President Leonel Fernandez has been presented with two projects for the development of the Santo Domingo Malecon, especially in the area of the Sans Souci marina. He said that in either of the project the plan is to declare the port a tourism port, instead of a military port. He said a good cruise ship port terminal would be built as well as a major convention center with two or three large hotels. He said the conditions of the Colonial City need to be improved, especially the security of the colonial city streets, and more cultural activities need to be made available as well as better parking. He said he would be talking about this matter with the Minister of Culture and the Cardinal.
2004 Red Bull Queen of the Air
Susanne Mai of Cabarete, Puerto Plata representing the Dominican Republic, won the 2004 Red Bull Queen of the Air award, the max for a women kiteboarding in the world during the competition held in Maui, Hawaii. Mai becomes the first woman to repeat in the competition. The event was held at Ho’Okipa beach. She competed against the world’s best in kiteboarding, including Hawaiian Yuri Drexler. “This year I competed under lots of pressure,” she said, explaining that last year she was an unknown. She says this year as she was defending champion, there were lots of expectations.
Among the men, Dominican Luciano Gonzalez finished fifth, and Luis Ciriaco placed in the top 20. Mai lives and trains in Puerto Plata, considered the world’s leading kiteboarding destination.
DR1 in the USA Today
USA Today “Virtual Voyager” columnist, Laura Bly stressed in a 24 September column the need for timely, specific and honest information on the status of tourism destinations affected by this year’s many hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. She comments on several forums that are providing forthright information, that is lacking by official tourist boards. She recommends as the source for current updates from the Dominican Republic. See
Constant updates on hotel status
DR1 is providing constant updates on the status of hotels affected by Hurricane Jeanne in the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo hotels were not affected, Puerto Plata and Sosua hotels suffered minor landscaping damages, in Cabarete recovery has been quick now that power has been restored. La Romana has rebounded quickly and is back to normal, with the exception of the bridge connecting La Romana cityand airport to Bayahibe hotels that still need to be reached by landing at the Punta Cana airport to the east. Most hotels in Punta Cana/Bavaro area are back in operation, while several small hotels in Samana are still carrying out repairs. Readers that are visiting the hotels in the days after Jeanne are already filing reports on how they are finding the hotels.
For instance, see
For more information, see or check into the constantly updated Weather & Beyond Forum where 24/7 updates are being provided by this 9,000+ person community.

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