*** Small Hotels in the Dominican Republic ***
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August 28, 2007
  • Small hotels workshop
  • US travel down to the DR & Caribbean
  • Canadian travel to DR way up
Small hotels workshop
Of special interest to small hotel operators is the Caribbean Small Hotels Retreat organized by the Caribbean Hotel Association in Bridgetown, Barbados for this coming 26-28 September. The workshop will promote valuable interaction between small hotel owners and operators in the region. The two-day meeting, sponsored by the Barbados Tourism Authority and Caribbean Airways, has a different approach from traditional hospitality conferences by emphasizing small group discussions of eight to ten people, which will focus on practical considerations and insight based on experience of the day-to-day operating issues particular to inn keeping.
Discussion topics include: public relations strategies; budget redecorating; niche marketing for small hotels; hidden potential revenue streams; the advantages of 'green' practices specific to small hotel operations; management issues; food and beverage considerations; insurance; and the all important technology trends, among others. In addition, each day will culminate with a series of 'bull sessions' - open forums where the discussion is driven exclusively by the issues tabled impromptu by delegates.
For more information and registration, visit www.caribbeanhotelassociation.com/SmallHotelsRetreat.htm
US travel down to the DR & Caribbean
Travel from the US to the DR continues to slide. The DR has not escaped the generalized slump in US travel to the Caribbean.
Impulse travel has suffered in the wake of the new passport rule, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace of the Caribbean Tourism Organization has said. Travelers can no longer book a last-minute getaway and rely on a driver's license for entry and exit. Nevertheless, US travel to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands is also down, despite these Caribbean destinations being the exception to the US passport rule.
But economic problems (real estate and stock market) in the US are what seem to be affecting travel decisions, according to CTO Industry Performance Summary 2006-2007. Notwithstanding, there continues to be resilience in the market among the middle-upper to upper-income families and for sales of luxury goods and services. However, the bulk of the Dominican tourism product is in the middle-priced hotel resort packages that attract primarily the middle class traveler.
Travel from the US to the DR had only increased slightly in 2006, from 1,010,012 in 2005 to 1,092,317 in 2006, reflecting a trend already in the making.
Travel from the US to the DR has declined monthly, since February 2007, when comparing January-June statistics for 2006 with the 2007 figures. Overall, first half year travel from the US to the DR was 590,527 non-resident arrivals (including non-resident Dominicans), compared to 601,696 arrivals for Jan-Jun 2006, for almost a 1.8% decline.
This is a regional trend. First half year travel from the US to the DR CTO reported that the Caribbean recorded a sharp decline (down 5%) in tourist arrivals from the US from January to April 2007. This was attributed to economic constraints in the US that resulted in reduced demand, in addition to the new passport requirement. During the period, cruise passenger arrivals increased by 6% according to CTO statistics.
Canadian travel to DR way up
A strengthening Canadian dollar and economy, on the positive side, is boosting Canadian travel. Canadian travel increased from 427,074 travelers to the DR in 2005 to 509,323 for 2006. Better yet, the first six months of the year are showing 395,612 arrivals, compared to 286,975 for Jan-June 2006, representing a significant increase of 37%.

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