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September 23, 2008
  • Chris Evert Tennis Center
  • Puerto Plata Merengue Festival
  • Billions in vacation property sales
  • Women's Polo in Casa de Campo
Chris Evert Tennis Center
Golf legend Greg Norman (The Great White Shark) and tennis legend Chris Evert are now playing active roles in the promotion of sports tourism in the Dominican Republic. Greg Norman was first contracted to build a PGA quality golf course at Costa Blanca by the Metro residential community in Juan Dolio in the southeast. He teamed up with his old friend Chris Evert to build tennis centers at vacation-residential developments around the world, and their work brought them closer together, to the point where they got married this year.
At the Mandarin Oriental in Miami this week, Norman's new wife Chris Evert announced that Costa Blanca by Metro would get a Chris Evert Tennis Center with 10 clay courts, including one housed in a professional mini-stadium. Evert will be involved in the selection of the center's tennis pros. The tennis center will be the first Chris Evert Tennis Center in the Caribbean.
"This is the only project in the Dominican Republic where the tennis center has an actual brand. This makes it very unique and with Greg on the golf course design and me on the tennis center, it's definitely a family affair," she said at the presentation in Miami.
Juan Dolio is a 40-minute drive east from Santo Domingo, and 20 minutes from Las Americas International Airport (SDQ).
Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia traveled to Miami to be present at the announcement.
Costa Blanca by Metro, the highly anticipated oceanfront development by Group Metro, also includes a world-class marina, a marina village, oceanfront condominiums, villas, a private beach and the exclusive founders club. The first signature Greg Norman course is an 18-hole par 72 course with 8 seafront holes along the Caribbean Sea.
Puerto Plata Merengue Festival
Grupomania, a leading Puerto Rico merengue band, will be the star attraction at the Puerto Plata Merengue Festival that kicks off this coming Friday, 26 September in Puerto Plata City. Joining Grupomania are Dominican bands led by Jose Pena Suazo, El Prodigio, Rubby Perez and Kerubanda. Also participating are the merengue groups of the golden years of the 1980s, with Maria Diaz, Bonny Cepeda and Wilfrido Vargas. Vargas will be performing at the festival closure, commemorating his 40 years as a leading merengue composer-band leader. Brugal Rum and the Ministry of Tourism are sponsoring the 2008 Puerto Plata Merengue Festival. It will take place Friday through Sunday, 26-28 September at La Puntilla, by the Puerto Plata San Felipe Fort.
Billions in vacation property sales
The Ministry of Tourism estimates that vacation property sales reached US$800 million this year, more than double reported for the five-year period of 2002-2007, when these totaled US$351.2 million, as reported in Hoy. According to estimates by the Ministry of Tourism, by 2012, US$7.1 billion will have been invested by foreigners buying second homes in the DR. Sectur statistics indicate that the Punta Cana area has received the most, with US$430 million this year, primarily concentrated in Cap Cana, Puntacana and Roco Ki (Macao) developments. Reportedly, over the past four years, investors have purchased US$2.5 billion in real estate in the area. Samana/Las Terrenas (US$129 million) and Maria Trinidad Sanchez/Cabrera/Playa Grande (US$84 million) provinces have also received hefty real estate investments from foreigners. Technical Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Tourism, Radhames Martinez Aponte says that incentives in Law 158-01 have attracted investors. He mentioned the improvements to Juan Dolio beach as one of the reasons for increased investment in that area. He said there is no inventory of real estate developments targeting second homes in the country, but that there are talks with the Central Bank and the National Association of Hotels & Restaurants to carry one out in the near future.
Women's Polo in Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo announces the celebration of the First Women's International Polo Tournament this coming 17-22 November. Polo has been played at Casa de Campo since the early 1970s when the late Indian Prince Maharajah Jabar Singh brought the sport to the resort. Since then, polo seasons have been played from November to April on three polo fields, with over 90 well-trained ponies for low to medium-goal polo, certified umpires and a staff who play with ratings up to 5-goals.
For the men's tournaments, players come from throughout Latin America, Europe and the US.
The November women's event, aside from being a first for women in the DR, will be an international qualifying tournament, attracting some of the sport's top female competitors. For the match to be a Women's Championship Tournament (WCT) qualifier, all players will be rated.
"The sport played well requires lots of skills - riding ability, hand-eye coordination, cool head at a gallop up to 20 mph, physical courage, a well-trained horse. It's all very intense which is what makes the sport so attractive to both men and women," said event organizer Tania Evans. "You have to have strong arms, legs, back muscles. You need to ride a few years before you can safely play - but many people come to polo at a later age, enjoying the horses, the team aspect and the thrill of speed. It's an exhilarating sport and great to watch, too."
Matches will be played in the afternoons until dusk.
For more information on the hotel, see www.dr1.com/directories/hotels/casa_de_campo.shtml
To contact event organizer Tania Evans, write to [email protected] or [email protected]

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