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February 8, 2011
  • Merengue concerts in the Middle East
  • Buenos Aires charter to Samana
  • AirTran expands flights to DR
  • Festival Procigar 2011
  • 500 Hotels in DR1 Directory
Merengue concerts in the Middle East
Acclaimed composer and pianist Jose Antonio Molina will conduct the Dominican Symphony Orchestra and the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra in two performances at the Damascus Opera House (22 February) and the Emirates Palace Auditorium in Abu Dhabi (27 February). This is an unprecedented collaboration of musical cultures and histories.
Under the patronage of Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Embassy of the Dominican Republic and Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation are presenting Caribbean Gems. The classical merengue music concert will perform at the Emirates Palace on the occasion of the 167th anniversary of the Dominican Republic's independence on 27 February.
During the concerts, Maestro Molina will also present some of the most representative Dominican music compositions written by himself and several other renowned Dominican musician composers - Bienvenido Bustamante, Luis Rivera, Salvador Sturla, Juan Lockward, Manuel Sanchez Acosta and Antonio Abreu.
"This will be the first time Dominican symphony music is around those parts of the world," he told Listin Diario in an interview. He said the tour is an initiative by the Dominican Ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Clara Martinez Thedy. 15 musicians from the Dominican Symphony Orchestra will travel for the event.
Molina expects the events to set a precedent for more performances abroad. He is looking forward to seeing how people will react when they first hear the sounds of the "perico ripiao" at the Opera House of Damascus and the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. He feels new doors will be opened for Dominican music.
Maestro Molina will be accompanied by the acclaimed vibrant conductor and director of the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, Missak Baghboudarian.
For more on Dominican-related events, see
Buenos Aires charter to Samana
Argentinean tourists can now fly into Samana on the northeastern coast, directly via charter from Buenos Aires. Andesmar Airline began transporting tourists who are staying at Bahia Principe hotels in the province. The airline is flying into the El Catey International Airport, located on the western side of the peninsula. Argentinean tour operators, Erovips, All Seasons and Business and Travel are marketing the sun-and-sand excursions with stays at all-inclusive resorts in the province. Mercedes Moreno, north coast sales director for Bahia Principe said that the direct flight is a major success for the Bahia Principe hotel chain operations that has 957 hotel rooms in the region, including hotels in Rio San Juan and Samana.
Latin America is an emerging market for Dominican tourism.
AirTran expands flights to DR
AirTran Airways has announced the continued expansion of its Caribbean flight schedule along with its seasonal travel schedule. The Caribbean expansion includes daily services to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, from the carrier's hub in Atlanta. AirTran flight 1239 nonstop departs Atlanta at 4:33pm arriving at Punta Cana at 7:40pm, a 4-hour flight. The lowest coach fare is US$189.
Festival Procigar 2011
Cigar lovers were in La Romana this week, as the Procigar Festival 2011 opened with the participation of over 300 aficionados from the US, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The event is organized every year by the Association of Cigar Producers of the Dominican Republic.
This year it is taking place 6-11 February in La Romana and Santiago. The festival kicked off with a first event in Casa de Campo, La Romana with tours to the Tabacalera de Garcia factory, the largest for hand made cigars, golf tournament, visits to beaches and tours to nearby sites.
Next it moves north to Santiago de los Caballeros, for visits to La Aurora, Matasa, Davidoff, and General Cigar factories. There will be time for merengue classes, cigar workshops, a tour of the north coast on board a catamaran, and a visit to the Brugal rum factory.
Upon their return to Santo Domingo, participants will be able to tour the Presidente Beer factory. Eng. Hendrik Kelner, president of Procigar, highlighted the cigar industry's importance to the Dominican economy and how the country has become the world's leading exporter of premium cigars, which in itself is a tourist attraction.
As part of the event, a benefit will be held to raise funds for the Voluntariado de Jesus con los Ninos and the San Vicente de Paul Hospice. The Procigar Festival is a world event, with 30 international media representatives covering the event last year. Brands that are backing the event include Partagas, H. Upmann, Macanudo, Zino, Leon Jimenes, Romeo y Julieta, Fonseca, Avo, Juan Clemente, La Aurora, Griffin's, Montecristo, El Credito, Don Diego and Davidoff.
Tours to the Tabacalera de Garcia factory can be booked year round. See
500 Hotels in DR1 Directory
Around 500 hotels are listed in the revamped DR1 online Hotel Directory at
Funded by a grant from the European Union, DR1 Hotel & Resorts Directory makes it easy to find that small hotel, hotel or large all-inclusive hotel you are looking for.
In a country where hotels change companies and names, having the right information on a hotel can be difficult. DR1 has updated this information and made it available online. This is the most comprehensive and updated list available in any form or organization in the DR, private or government. Hotels are categorized as small hotels (less than 25 rooms), hotels (25+ rooms) and all-inclusives. They can also be searched for by location. All hotels are listed by room size and location, telephone contact and an e-mail contact.
Hotel owners can make it easier for future guests to decide if they are a match by upgrading their entry to a mini-website with up to nine photos, Google maps, and features including guest reviews, WYSIWYG to edit photos and content, among other advantages for just US$25 a month. Contact [email protected] for page upgrades.

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