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November 21, 2006
  • US passport requirement postponed
  • Master cooking classes
  • 9.38% increase in tourists so far
  • Tourists to visit farms
US passport requirement postponed
US passports are no longer mandatory for travel from the Caribbean. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requirement would have been effective 8 January 2007, but the US Department of Homeland Security had failed to publish it in the Federal Register as required by law, which means there will be a delay in the implementation of the new requirement.
There is still time for the administrative reprieve sought by the Caribbean to be developed and introduced. As reported by journalist John Collins, once Homeland Security publishes the requirement in the Federal Register, another 60 days need to pass before it becomes effective. Homeland Security has announced the postponement without establishing a new date for its introduction.
Master cooking classes
Jacques Le Divellec, the French chef whose name is synonymous with seafood will be in Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata from 26 to 29 November to give two master classes on seafood and fish cooking.
The courses are sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and will be held at the PUCMM in Santo Domingo (Monday, 26 November, from 8 to 11:15am at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra - PUCMM Culinary School, and at the Occidental Playa Dorada in Playa Dorada (3-6 pm on Tuesday, 27 November). Divellec is the author of the Larousse Encyclopedia on Fish and Seafood.
The cost of the course is RD$3,000 per person.
For more information, contact the office of Deputy Minister Iris Perez on 809 221-4660 ext. 3240 or 2241 or e-mail [email protected]
9.38% increase in tourists so far
The Ministry of Tourism has announced that the DR is the Caribbean leader in number of arrivals from Europe. A press release from the department reports that 1,198,899 European tourists visited the country during the first 10 months of the year.
There was a 15.4% increase in arrivals from the United Kingdom, 6.54% more from Italy and a 6.46% increase from Spain.
Likewise, the DR leads in inter-Caribbean arrivals, with 128,254 visitors from within the region. This includes 75,639 tourists from Puerto Rico, an increase of 39%.
Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez reported total arrivals of 3,000,296 tourists during the first 10 months of the year. Based on these figures, he is expecting a record four million visitors by the year's end. This is a 9.38% increase so far this year, compared to the same period last year.
The Ministry reports that arrivals from the US were up by 9.12%, with 932,482 arrivals. Canada showed a robust 21.34% increase, with 405,136 visitors. A total of 19,750 tourists arrived from Mexico, 42.26% more than during the same period last year.
Tourists to visit farms
Hotel owners and tour representatives from Punta Cana and Bayahibe, which receive over 58% of the Dominican Republic's US$3.5 billion tourist income, are planning on taking tourists to nearby farms as part of a "farm tourism" program. These day trips are aimed at improving the lot of small farmers, and at bringing some added commercial activity to the region. The idea is that tourists are taken from their hotel to the farms, where they can pick fruit and eat it right there. One of the farms that has been chosen to take part in the project is located in Baigua, near San Rafael de Yuna. It has an irrigation system composed of eleven wells and 31 kilometers of canals, and is the principal fruit and vegetable supplier of hotels in the area.

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