January 25, 2005
  • US$225 million for tourism improvements
  • La Vega Carnival
  • Samana whale-watching trips
  • Santo Domingo to host FIBA qualifying tournament
US$225 million for tourism improvements
The Ministry of Tourism announced the government would be investing US$225 million in infrastructure, signage and potable water and beach improvement in the north and east coasts. He said the works are scheduled to begin in July and be completed by 2007. The works to be carried out include a US$58 million investment in Puerto Plata and US$ 167 million allotted to Punta Cana-Bavaro, Samana-Las Terrenas, Juan Dolio and Boca Chica tourist destinations.
Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez says that program calls for large investments in tourism advertising abroad, new rulings for water sports, and implementing of entertainment programs for the Colonial City (Santo Domingo), Puerto Plata and Sosua. The Ministry is backing the development of an arts and crafts park in Puerto Plata.
Jimenez pointed out that his office is working on increasing the number of arrivals from Brazil, Russia and Japan. The program includes the implementation of a plan to develop tourism duty free areas. He said these tourists are interested in more than the beaches and the sun. He mentioned they have shown an interest in gambling, Dominican rum and tobacco, and that they also seeks to shop for designer items, as reported in the Listin Diario. Of the three million foreign arrivals to the DR, most come from Europe, the United States and Canada.
Jimenez spoke at the American Chamber of Commerce luncheon that took place in Puerto Plata.
La Vega Carnival
All is ready for the Sunday parades of devil-masked characters down Avenida de los Flambones in the city of La Vega. Approximately 30 groups prepare all year for the event. The event is organized by the Union Carnavalesca Vegana (UCAVE). The first carnival warm-up is scheduled for Sunday, 6 February, with the final parade set for Sunday, 27 February. Some of the costumes weigh has much as 40 pounds and can cost up to US$1,000. The parades of the fantasy creatures brings thousands of visitors to La Vega every year.
Samana whale-watching trips
Whale-watching excursions have started in the Samana Bay area. The excursions are authorized from 15 January through 15 March. Trips leave Samana port to observe the humpbacks that make their way from colder climates to mate and give birth. See http://dr1.com/travel/special/whales.shtml
Santo Domingo to host FIBA qualifying tournament
Santo Domingo will host the FIBA Americas World Championship Qualifying Tournament, set for Aug. 24-Sept. 4. The event determines the FIBA Americas zone’s five qualifying spots for the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Argentina had already qualified for the event by winning the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics but is expected to send a team to the tournament. The other contenders are Canada, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and host Dominican Republic from the Central and Caribbean zone; and Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela from South America zone. Two preliminary round groups of five each will play. The championship will take place at the Virgilio Travieso Soto Palacio de los Deportes in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center.

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