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November 24, 2009
  • Elaine Heumann Gurian helps museums
  • Russian and DR aviation protocol
  • Samana voted most beautiful bay
  • Prevalent trends re the leisure market
Elaine Heumann Gurian helps museums
Famous museum consultant and advisor Elaine Heumann Gurian has been assisting the staff at the soon-to-open Museum of Resistance. The museum is dedicated to the victims of political violence since the US Occupation in 1916, with a special emphasis on life under dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo from 1930-1961. Heumann recently told Hoy that getting people to come forward and tell their stories, leaving aside their anger at the events, is the most difficult task for a memorial museum. “If there can be an institution for reconciliation, where everyone can come and learn in an open way about this, without forgetting the real horrors that happened, then you will have succeeded in building individual responsibility among citizens,” she said. She commented that something unusual has occurred in the Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance in terms of the willingness of the victims to cooperate. “What we are achieving in the DR is something extraordinary,” she commented.
Elaine Heumann Gurian is a consultant/advisor for a number of museums and visitor centers that are beginning, building, or reinventing themselves. Her current clients include the Nassau County Government museum systems, Museum of London (UK), National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute, National Children’s Museum (Washington DC), and the Pew Foundation (Philadelphia, PA).
Russian and DR aviation protocol
The directors of the Dominican and Russian civil aviation boards have concluded negotiations for the signing of a bilateral aviation agreement between the DR and Russia. The plan is to strengthen relations between both countries, a process that began in 2006, and increase the flow of tourists between the DR and Russia. Currently, Transaero Airlines flies a 4 weekly frequency between Punta Cana and Moscow. It has announced a forthcoming St. Petersburg-Punta Cana flight.
Samana voted most beautiful bay
San Lorenzo and Rincon bays in northeastern Samana province have won the bid and Samana has now been named one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World. The designation is awarded by the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club, formed in 1997, sponsored by UNESCO. The bays are only the second in the Caribbean to receive the distinction, in addition to the Gulf of Saints (Guadeloupe).
The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club seeks to encourage sustainable exploitation of pristine natural resources. The distinction is a challenge for Samana and the country to preserve the bay’s natural attractions. The announcement was made in the Spanish city of Santander on 9 November.
Consultant Luc Litzler, who coordinated the bid for the distinction, says this is time for celebration but also time to act with prudence. Litzler developed the proposal for the Center for Conservation and Eco-Development of Samana and its Environs (CEBSE), the Tourism Cluster of Samana (CTS) and the Foundation for the Development of Samana (FDS).
In an interview with Listin Diario he says he fears that Samana could lose its attraction and natural resources in a short time because of inappropriate and uncontrolled development.
The awards are granted not just to a city on a bay, but to a protected area with interesting flora and fauna and notable natural attractions. Criteria also stipulate that the area should be recognized and appreciated nationally and internationally, and that it should be considered emblematic by the local population.
According to the organization, the goal is to reconcile the attraction and the value of these fragile sites with the awareness that too much traffic or badly managed tourist development can ultimately lead to destruction of the site and consequently reduce its attraction for the public.
Prevalent trends re the leisure market
During a talk in Santo Domingo last week, Tourism guru Peter Yesawich said that if we thought there had been a lot of changes in the way leisure travel is marketed, we should hold tight because a rollercoaster ride is soon to begin. Speaking at the PUCMM university auditorium commemorating the CICOM public relations agency’s 25th anniversary, Yesawich forecast that although Internet use has plateaued, it would accelerate once new mobile technology is in place in the near future.
He confirmed the prevalence of the use of the Internet in bookings, now that 8 out of 10 airline tickets and 1 out of 2 lodging bookings are made online.
He confirmed that on the other hand, travelers are willing to pay for expert travel agent advice. The YPartnership National Travel Monitor survey showed that travelers are willing to pay up to 20% for personalized service and customized products. “Personalization is the new service strategy,” he says, and “the future of the travel business… if you give people exactly what they want, they will pay you more.”
Yesawich shared his insight that searching on the Internet is all about finding the best price, with brands rapidly losing their equity. Enter the meta-search engines that track price drops and offer pricing transparency. When it comes to airlines, he says the survey showed that there is no loyalty to legacy carriers and cost is the determining factor.
The same is the case for hotel brand loyalty. Today, he says travelers can see for themselves what they are getting, and will therefore forfeit brand. “Today people don’t recognize names. They see photographs. They search and reserve hotels they have never heard of. The amount of information online today allows us to make decisions comfortably,” he says.

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