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April 29, 2008
  • 2008-2012 Ministry of Tourism Plan
  • Tourism numbers up
  • DATE is big success
  • SMED proposed for DR
2008-2012 Ministry of Tourism Plan
The Ministry of Tourism publishes its priorities for the next four years under Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez today. This is expected to be Jimenez's third term as minister of Tourism in the likely scenario of President Fernandez being reelected. Jimenez forecasts that by 2012 the DR would be receiving five million visitors, up from four million in 2008. The plan is to increase arrivals by around 170,000 visitors per year, generating US$200 million in annual revenue. Likewise, he foresees an increase in number of hotel rooms by 3,000 units per year, with an investment of US$420 million. The Ministry predicts that another US$1 billion will be invested in residential communities for around US$1.4 billion a year in the industry, and expects new developments in areas such as Samana, due to the opening of the new highway that cuts the current four-hour journey from Santo Domingo down to an hour and a half, and the improvements to the beach at Juan Dolio. Plans for 2008-2012 include expediting the development of the Macao-Miches-Sabana de la Mar highway and support for a ferry to Samana from a new port in Sabana de la Mar. Likewise, new investments are planned for the provinces of Maria Trinidad Sanchez, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, San Cristobal, Peravia, Azua, Barahona, and municipalities in Moncion, San Jose de las Matas, Janico, Jarabacoa, Constanza and Ocoa, with funding provided under the new National Institute for Tourism Development, promoted by the Ministry. Furthermore, the minister says that he would support tourism expansion on the north coast, with the construction of the Montecristi to Puerto Plata highway, which will pass through Luperon. Another highway that would be built is the Moncion-Janico-Jarabacoa-Constanza-Ocoa highway. The plan also contemplates the construction of the Santo Domingo Convention Center, for which ITB Messe Berlin has been contracted as consultant, to complement the expansion of the Port of Santo Domingo. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism plan includes the start of construction of works for the new Puerto Plata port, as well as the construction of 6,000 housing units for low-income people in Puerto Plata, Samana, Najayo and Palenque. The Ministry also announces plans to continue to spend US$25 million a year on advertising and publicity.
Tourism numbers up
Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez says that the number of tourist arrivals increased by 5.9% in March 2008. This brings the total of non-resident foreign arrivals to an 8% increase for the first three months of this year. The statistics indicate that US and Canadian arrivals increased by 9% and 7.4%. Other source markets registering increases are the UK, Belgium and Spain, with arrivals up by 9.2%, 15.1% and 2.13%. Russian, Mexican, Ecuadorian and Peruvian arrivals increased by 12.6%, 12.6%, 10.3% and 27%. According to figures provided by Jimenez, 309,075 tourists arrived in March, and in all 1,314,313 tourists arrived during the first three months of the year. This is an absolute increase of 82,391 tourists.
DATE is big success
The 9th Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange , which took place in Bavaro recently, included 2,616 pre-arranged appointments between buyers and suppliers. This is 1,249 more than in 2007, when there were 1,367 pre-booked appointments. The president of the National Hotels & Restaurants Association, Luis Lopez said that 524 delegates registered for DATE, including suppliers and buyers. A total of 88 buyers and 92 suppliers took part, as reported in Hoy. Lopez said that this confirms the consolidation of DATE as a major platform for doing business with wholesalers, international tour operators, incentive group contractors, airlines, charter operators, hoteliers, tour operators and event organizers, and ground operations. DATE is the leading local event for the marketing of travel in the DR. This year it took place at the Barcelo Bavaro Convention Center.
SMED proposed for DR
Cesar Castaneda, director of operations for the World Tourism Organization's World Center of Excellence for Destinations (CED), is encouraging the DR to take the leadership in the Caribbean and adopt the System for Measuring Excellence in Destinations (SMED) that will be launched in June 2008. Castaneda took part in the Under the Same Roof workshop, organized by the Dominican Sustainable Tourism Alliance last weekend, attended by tourism stakeholders from tourism clusters in Samana, Puerto Plata, La Altagracia, Romana-Bayahibe, Santo Domingo, Pedernales, Barahona, Constanza and Jarabacoa as well as government and private organizations.
The event was organized by the National Competitiveness Council.
A new CED service, SMED has the objective of encouraging destinations to make themselves known as destinations of excellence by means of a measurement system based on reliable, expert-validated criteria. SMED evaluates geographic aspects, services, government and each destination specific activities. Castaneda is a former director of the Mexico Tourism Board in Canada.
See: www.ced.travel/en

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