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Information updated December 2009

March 30, 2010
  • Fred Couples wins Cap Cana Championship
  • Hotels report max booking for Easter
  • Keep to Cabarete's new zoning law
  • Apple invests more in Cap Cana
Fred Couples wins Cap Cana Championship
15-time PGA Tour winner and Golf Masters champion Fred Couples set a new Punta Espada golf course record at 7,170-yard, par-72 and won the US$1.6 million Cap Cana Championship with a record score of 195, 21-under par, on Sunday 28 March. Couples broke the one-day-old course record with an 11-birdie, one-bogey 62 and became the first Champions Tour player to win three straight tournaments with sub-200 totals for 54 holes.
It was Couples' third consecutive win in a row, tying Jay Haas's 2006 record and it also made him the first player to win three times in his first four starts, passing the previous best-start record held by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Corey Pavin was second, Russ Cochran third. Nick Price, who is building the Punta Blanca golf course in the DR, was fourth tied with Bernhard Langer, and Tom Pernice Jr. This was his third consecutive championship win.
"The Cap Cana Championship is one of our top three tournaments of the year and to win at Punta Espada, on one of Jack Nicklaus' best golf courses ever, really makes it special," said Couples, referring to the Championship Tour.
Commenting on the Cap Cana course, he said: "For the past two months everyone has been telling me that this is an extraordinarily beautiful place and now I've seen what they mean. A great course in great condition with the big galleries we had for the last round, it all made for a fun day."
Hotels report max booking for Easter
Traveling outside of Santo Domingo without reservations is a no-no during the Easter holidays. This is the peak time for domestic travel, and many hotels nationwide are reporting 100% occupancy levels from Wednesday, 31 March through Sunday, 4 April 2010.
The hot weather is also motivating DR dwellers to hit the beaches and mountain resorts to cool off and socialize with family and friends. New developments in Samana, Punta Cana and Juan Dolio have made these fashionable destinations for the affluent crowds that in the past would have exclusively focused on the grand dame of luxury tourism, Casa de Campo. Vacations in Jarabacoa and Constanza continue to be popular, especially given the hot weather. Adventurers consider trekking southwest to visit the Barahona and Pedernales eco destinations.
Keep to Cabarete's new zoning law
Three Cabarete community groups have sent legal notifications to Millennium Resort and Seawinds at Punta Goleta in Puerto Plata, both under construction, informing them that they have 7 days to comply with the zoning laws on construction in the Cabarete area. The Federation for a Sustainable Cabarete, the Sosua and Cabarete Association for the Protection of the Environment and Tourism (Asoprocaso) and the Cabarete Development Association (Adeca) are encouraging the developers to stick to the latest urban plan of the Ministry of Tourism. The organizations have copied the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Environment on the notifications.
The community organizations were instrumental in securing new urban rulings from the government that prevent high-rise development in the area in order to ensure constant wind flow. Cabarete is the Caribbean's leading windsurfing, kiteboarding and Laser sailing destination.
The Federation for a Sustainable Cabarete says that the move seeks to attract new investors to Cabarete. They want assurance that all builders have to comply with the same zoning laws.
In November 2009, President Leonel Fernandez issued a decree to regulate construction in the area of the natural lagoon and the beaches that form Cabarete's unique ecosystem.
Decree No. 847-09 regulates condominium and hotel construction to three floors at Punta Goleta, starting at a distance of 60 meters from the waterline.
Apple invests more in Cap Cana
President Leonel Fernandez was in Cap Cana over the weekend for the PGA Senior Tour Championship and attended a press conference during which AMResorts announced a new US$400 million development, the Gems at Cap Cana. AMResorts is the hotel division of Apple Vacations, the largest US tour operator.
At the event, John Mullen, CEO and founder of Apple Vacations, announced that AMResorts would be increasing its participation in Cap Cana, the real estate and tourism development located at the south end of Punta Cana.
Gems at Cap Cana is described as a four-resort complex consisting of the 200-suite Zoetry Gems at Cap Cana, the 350-suites Secrets Gems at Cap Cana, the 350-suite Now Gems at Cap Cana and the 200-suite Now Preferred Gems at Cap Cana.
"This is the most important project to date for AMResorts and it's been in the works for years," said Alex Zozaya, president of AMResorts, and son-in-law of Mullen. "Gems at Cap Cana will give American visitors who haven't already been to the Dominican Republic a new reason to come."
AMResorts already operates the 175-suite Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana and the 20-room Golden Bear Lodge & Spa (Zoetry Collection brand).
The company says construction of the new properties is due to begin in June with completion set for 2012. Guests at the four resorts will share access to "The Promenade," which will encompass more than 148,000 square feet of retail and recreational space, including a 30,677-square-foot convention center, a spa, a 20,000-square-foot casino, gourmet restaurants and bars, a retail collection, an Explorer's Club for kids and an artists' square.
AMResorts also operates Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa (Sunscape Casa del Mar), Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa and Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana.
Last year the company had announced the construction of the Zoetry Pearl Sands Cap Cana and Pure Secrets at Cap Cana that were due to open in late 2010.

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