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January 8, 2008
  • Laser elite competes in Cabarete
  • Dolphin & Aman Resorts buy Playa Grande
  • Centro Leon Baseball Exhibition
  • DR at ITB Berlin
Laser elite competes in Cabarete
Cabarete is hosting the VI Caribbean Midwinter Laser Regatta, Marquee Sapphire Cup this coming 11-13 January weekend. The level of competition promises to be high this year. Thirty-two competitors have registered for the event, including reigning North American laser sailing champion, Thomas Barrows of the US Virgin Islands and Canada's Chris Dold, who came sixth in the 2007 US Laser Nationals. The DR will be represented by Sebastian Mera, winner of the 2007 Sunfish World Championships and Raul Aguayo, bronze medallist in the 2003 Pan American Games.
Andres Santana of the Dominican Sailing Federation explained the event is especially important because it is one of the first on the international calendar after almost three months of lull in normal activity due to bad weather in the region.
The event is sponsored by Marquee Sapphire, Sea Pro Divers, Dakine, Thule Racks, EZE Bar and Pomodoro Restaurant in Cabarete.
Dolphin & Aman Resorts buy Playa Grande
Dolphin Capital Investors, a luxury real estate company, has announced a joint venture with luxury hotel company Aman Resorts to purchase a majority stake in 790-hectare Playa Grande Holdings beach and golf development in Maria Trinidad Sanchez, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic from the New York-based owners. Dolphin is a well-known real estate developer in the eastern Mediterranean.
Dolphin announced that the plan is to build a 40-room Aman hotel and 40 Aman villas, a 200-room five-star golf hotel and approximately 350 cliff, golf and seafront residential units. Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston International, known for his work at the Kilada Hills and Livka Bay, has been entrusted to design the DR's first Aman Resort. The plan is to create an exclusive, low density and environmentally sensitive resort development to complement the striking natural beauty of Playa Grande.
Dolphin Capital will have a stake of at least 70% stake in the US$57 million joint venture. Aman Resorts will own a stake of up to 25%, and the original New York investors will retain 5%. As reported, US$23 million will be invested to fund the design, permitting process and early stages of development and operation of the project.
The Central Bank sold the Playa Grande beach and golf development to a New York-based investor group towards the end of the Hipolito Mejia administration in 2004. As reported, the New York group (made up by prominent individuals in the world of finance, media and the arts) will retain 75 hectares for their own use and the construction of approximately 74 villas.
As part of the transaction, the purchasing group will assume two of PGH's existing obligations: a US$26 million liability to the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic and a US$7.5 million loan with Banco Leon, a local bank.
Aman Resorts already operates the Amanyara Resort in nearby Turks & Caicos islands. The company made a name for itself 20 years ago with the opening of its flagship resort Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand. It manages 18 small luxury resorts worldwide in Bhutan, Cambodia, France, French Polynesia, Indonesia, India, Morocco, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the USA.
The Playa Grande site consists of approximately 9 kms of seafront, the highly reputed Playa Grande golf course, and is located between the two small towns of Cabrera and Rio San Juan. The site is served by the Puerto Plata Gregorio Luperon International Airport and the El Catey International Airport, both about an hour's drive away by car.
Centro Leon Baseball Exhibition
"See you in the Ballpark!", an exhibit on the impact of baseball in Dominican culture opens at the Centro Leon in Santiago de los Caballeros this coming Saturday, 12 January. The exhibition is being held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Series, the Caribbean's main baseball event, hosted at the Cibao Ballpark in Santiago this year. The Centro Leon is the leading cultural center in the Dominican Republic.
DR at ITB Berlin
The Ministry of Tourism has announced that it is spending EUR2 million to stage the Dominican Republic's participation as Official Partner Country in the 42nd ITB Berlin, this coming 5-9 March. The exhibition is open to trade visitors from 5-7 March from 10am to 6pm, and to trade visitors and the general public from 8-9 March, from 10am to 6pm. The ITB trade show is considered the world's leading event, where exhibitors and visitors can find all the links in the added value chain of the tourism industry, with the participation of more than 180 countries in the 26 halls covering a display area of 160,000 square meters. Over 10,923 companies are registered to participate, over three quarters of whom come from abroad. An estimated 110,000 trade visitors and almost 70,000 general public visitors are expected to visit. Organizers estimate that over five billion euros worth of business is transacted at the event.

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