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February 19, 2008
  • Sosua Jewish Heritage Exhibit in NY
  • Trading down, not out
  • New in SDQ: Audio Tours
  • February is Carnival month
Sosua Jewish Heritage Exhibit in NY
The Museum of Jewish Heritage located at 36 Battery Place, New York will be presenting a bilingual exhibition in English and in Spanish in association with the Jewish Museum in Sosua, Puerto Plata. The exhibition opened on 17 February. The exhibition is titled: Sosua - A Refuge for Jews in the Dominican Republic and will be on view for six months. Plans are for it to travel to other venues in the US and eventually become a permanent exhibition at the Jewish museum in Sosua. The exhibition brings to light the stories of Jewish refugees who made their home in Puerto Plata in the late 1930s. The settlers were mostly urban Austrian and German Jews who were professionals or craftsmen. In the late 1930s, when most of the world's nations were unwilling to help Jewish people trying to flee from Nazi persecution in Europe, the DR became the exception and opened its doors. A few hundred Jewish refugees ended up settling in the DR. "We are often told about Jews being turned away from country after country, but this exhibition will tell the story of Jews who found a haven, half-a-world away," Museum Director Dr. David G. Marwell said. "Despite the indifference and intolerance many Jews faced in Europe from their neighbors, none of the Jewish settlers in Sosua interviewed for this exhibition experienced anti-Semitism in the Dominican Republic. On the contrary, their dealings with their Dominican counterparts were congenial and friendly. This is a positive story, and one that should be told." www.mjhnyc.org
Trading down, not out
Recent economic headlines have led people to ask how a recession would affect consumer travel behavior. Ypartnership travel marketing company recently carried out a travel horizons™ survey (co-authored by the Travel Industry Association in Washington) and share their findings to what consumers have done during the last six months because of personal financial concerns.
The survey found that 29% have taken fewer trips; 16% have selected less expensive hotel accommodations; 12% have stayed fewer nights on a trip; 11% drove a shorter distance to vacation destination; 7% changed vacation destination; and 2% brought fewer people along.
YPartnership concludes that travelers are likely to seek ways of reducing the cost of travel rather than canceling their trips. "Stated simply, increasingly value-conscious consumers are likely to 'trade down' and seek less expensive alternatives for transportation, lodging, entertainment and recreation. They may also reduce the length of their trips in an effort to save money. Very few, however, are likely to actually cancel their travel plans."
Nevertheless, the current economic environment has amplified another consumer sentiment that was revealed in the 2007 National Travel Monitor™ and has grown steadily in recent years: that it's usually not necessary to pay full price for most goods and services you buy because you can find whatever you want on sale. Perhaps ironically, the fact that consumers embrace this belief now comes as good news because those who are concerned about their finances remain heartened by the belief that their efforts to find a good deal will be rewarded, assuming they know where and how to find one.
The convergence of concern about personal finances and the belief that everything is on sale has significant implications for advertising strategy in the months ahead. Specifically, there is a strong case to be made for more retail messaging that communicates the benefits of specific offers or premiums tied to purchase. There is an equally compelling argument to be made that the prominence of such retail offers should take precedence over advertising that is simply intended to establish and/or modify a brand message devoid of any retail call to action. Some marketing strategists would argue that adopting a short-term retail strategy will "tarnish the image of your brand," yet the reality is today's savvy consumers understand that the laws of supply and demand affect pricing, and that even the highest of "high-end" suppliers occasionally adjust prices to reflect market dynamics.
For more information on the results of travelhorizons™ please visit the Publications section of www.ypartnership.com.
New in SDQ: Audio Tours
Audio Guide Dominicana is a new service now available in Santo Domingo that allows visitors to go on self-guided tours of the highlights of historic Santo Domingo. This is for people who like to travel independently but would still like some guidance. JC Colonial Service uses high-quality MP3 players that can be placed in a pocket. It gives users the freedom to make their own route, at their own pace.
The offices are located at the Don Diego Port Terminal in Santo Domingo, Columbus Alcazar and Hard Rock Cafe in front of the Columbus Park. The audio tour covers more than 25 historical points in the Colonial City and is available in Spanish, English and French. Also included with the price is an informative booklet with a map, photos and suggested route, and admission to the Columbus Alcazar and Casa del Tostado. To take a break, a non-alcoholic beverage is included at Hard Rock Cafe. The price is US$25 + 16% tax. Offices are open from 8:30am until closing of museums, around 5pm.
Visitors who are just passing through Santo Domingo can make use of their daily and weekly luggage storage service for an additional fee.
For more information and contact details go to: www.dr1.com/directories/tours/jc_colonial_service.shtml
February is Carnival month
Dominicans love a party and so instead of the normal weeklong carnival celebrations, in the DR carnival extends throughout the month of February.
The most colorful parades are held in La Vega, Santiago and Bonao on Sundays in February. For the first time, Santo Domingo is celebrating carnival parades in February this year. Parades will be held every Sunday afternoons in February along Av. Mexico. Carnival celebrations also take place in several other cities. La Romana's carnival parades are getting good reviews. Check signs in the local area. The best groups from these carnivals then come to Santo Domingo for the annual grand parade, held on the first Sunday in March, 2 March this year.

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