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March 10, 2009
  • Playa Dorada gets Blue Flag
  • DATE books for 20 April
  • Tourism overview
  • Investment conference
  • New control tower at Portillo
Playa Dorada gets Blue Flag
It's official. The resort beaches Playa Dorada I and Playa Dorada II have been awarded the prestigious European quality beach certificate Blue Flag. Playa Dorada is a public access beach. It is located east of Puerto Plata City on the highway to Sosua. It can be reached by vehicles that have to be parked at the parking zone, 200 meters away from the coastal zone and it can be accessed through footpaths from the hotels of the zone. Activities about the environment, Blue Flag program and reef check have been developed in the beach strips.
These beaches offer lifeguard service from 9 to 6pm, lifesaving equipment, sports, rent and accommodation facilities available the whole year, and has facilities, ramps and sites in the beach areas for disabled people. Two information boards with information such as map, sensitive areas nearby, bathing water quality sheets, conduct code, environmental activities, and emergency plan are posted.
Other Blue Flag beaches in the Dominican Republic are Cabeza de Toro Dreams Palm Beach, Cabeza de Toro Grand Oasis, Cabeza de Toro Natura Park, Costa Dorada Grand Oasis, Costa Dorada Iberostar.
DATE books for 20 April
The National Hotel & Restaurant Association has announced that the country's leading travel booking event, the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE 2009) will take place on 20-21 April in the Punta Cana area. The main conference venue will be the Barcelo Bavaro Convention Center, but activities will also be held at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro and The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real.
See www.drdate.net/app/frontpage.aspx
Tourism overview
The Ministry of Tourism reported that last year occupation averaged 70.6%, compared to 72.20% in 2007. Highest occupancy rates were in Punta Cana-Bavaro with 77.7%.
According to a recent report issued by the DR Ministry of Tourism, arrivals increased slightly in 2008 with over 3.4 million guests choosing the DR as their vacation destination. This is a 1.45 percent increase compared to the same period in 2007.
The Ministry reports that 1,267 new rooms entered into operation in 2008, bringing the national hotel room inventory to 66,165. Arrivals of foreigners and non-resident Dominicans were up 0.4% last year. In 2008, the Ministry reports US$15.7 billion in investment, of which US$9.3 billion were focused on La Altagracia (Punta Cana-Bavrro) and San Pedro de Macoris (Juan Dolio-Guayacanes) US$1.6 billion, while Samana received US$856.3 million and La Romana US$713.7 million.
Visits to the DR from the US remain steady, with more than one million arrivals for the fourth consecutive year. In addition, North American arrivals to the DR exceeded those from Europe for the fourth successive year by approximately 24 percent.
Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia said, "The DR is a culturally-rich and sophisticated tourism destination like no other. More global visitors are choosing the DR for our unspoiled natural beauty, diversity and accessibility. With eight international airports and many seaports, visitors receive a warm and friendly Dominican welcome among magnificent hotels, world-class golf courses, luxury marinas, amazing cultural and historic attractions, exciting nightlife and eco-adventures not found anywhere else. The DR really has it all."
The DR's most popular destination for visitors continues to be Punta Cana on the east coast, as its international airport received nearly 1.9 million resident and nonresident arrivals in 2008. The second most visited airport is Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo with nearly 1 million arrivals, followed by Puerto Plata International Airport on the north coast, El Cibao International Airport in the central region, La Romana International Airport, also on the east coast, El Catey International Airport on the northeast coast and La Isabela International Airport, also in Santo Domingo.
Investment conference
The international hospitality investment community will be meeting at the 2009 Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) to weigh in on what is - and what will be - happening in the region's industry. Participants at the 13th annual CHTIC, to be held from 14-16 April at the Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, will listen to experts from around the world explain where the Caribbean fits in the overall picture of these challenging times and how the Caribbean compares to other regions. On this topic, World Travel & Tourism Council president Jean-Claude Baumgarten will present "The Global Travel and Tourism Outlook and How the Caribbean Measures Up".
See www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/InvestmentConference.php
New control tower at Portillo
Portillo Airport (EPS) in the Samana peninsula has a new control tower. The airport receives around 40,000 travelers a year, most on domestic flights from Santo Domingo and Punta Cana airports. For the inauguration of the new control tower, a 10-plane fly-in by the Club Caribbean Flying Adventure of Puerto Rico arrived. The terminal offers scheduled flights to La Isabela (JBQ-AILI), Las Americas (AILA-SDQ) and Punta Cana (PUJ). The airport was originally built as an airfield for visitors to the Portillo Beach Resort, but as demand for flights to the north coast of Samana and the Las Terrenas area increased, the privately-operated airport was remodeled and services expanded.

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