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February 15, 2011
  • DATE set for 27-29 April in Punta Cana
  • Sotogrande inaugurates first phase
  • AHMSA completes remodeling
  • Viva Wyndham Resorts Wellness Program
  • Routes Americas 2011
DATE set for 27-29 April in Punta Cana
The National Hotel and Tourism Association has announced the celebration of the 12th Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) for 27-29 April at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Macao, Punta Cana. This is the DR's leading travel booking event. Around 100 tour operators are expected to attend to meet with local hoteliers. Asonahores announces that tour operators from the US, Canada, Germany and Latin America (Argentina and Brazil) will be attending, with pre-set meetings. This year the Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort will host the traditional Caribbean night to showcase its newly remodeled facilities. The Hard Rock Hotel has 1,780 rooms in a 65,000m2 property. The complex includes an 18-hole golf course designed by the Jack Nicklaus firm, the country's largest casino and 15 swimming pools.
To register, go to
Sotogrande inaugurates first phase
President Leonel Fernandez was in Cap Cana on Saturday, 12 February to inaugurate the first phase of the Sotogrande at Cap Cana development. The US$71 million Spanish investment consists of 122 residential units in 13 three and four-floor buildings. The first phase was built on a 52,638m2 lot with financing from the governmental Banco de Reservas. The apartments run from a 60m2 studio to a 350m2 penthouse. Sotogrande and NH Hotels executive Ignacio Aranguren gave the keynote address for the Spanish group. The project is a private 254,000m2 development within the Cap Cana hotel, beach and golf complex.
The project is located facing holes 10, 12, 13 of the Las Iguanas golf course, and in addition purchasers have beach access at Playa Coralina.
Speaking during the event, President Fernandez said that construction work on the project had started when the modern world was suffering from the effects of a major financial crisis, evidence of the confidence of investors in the country.
AHMSA completes remodeling
Local hotel chain Amhsa has announced the completion of a US$6 million remodeling of its Casa Marina Beach and Casa Marina Reef hotels located in Sosua, Puerto Plata province. General manager Cecilio Mercedes said that rooms had been fitted with flat screen TVs, new modern furniture, beds with double pillow tops, new fittings in the bathrooms, and marble tops. The gardens have been revamped and the restaurant areas also have a new look. The hotel also plays up its natural Jacuzzis.
Viva Wyndham Resorts Wellness Program
Viva Wyndham Resorts has launched its Viva Eco Wellness by MG, a health and wellness program at its two properties at Dominicus Beach (Bayahibe) in La Romana province. The innovative program combines a healthy lifestyle with the memorable Viva Wyndham vacation experience. It is named after Marcos Gomez, a renowned personal trainer who supervises the program. Gomez has trained celebrated Dominican athletes such as open water swimmer Marcos Diaz (he has swum the English Channel) and Olympic gold medalist Felix Sanchez. It combines physical activity with a nutrition plan designed to improve health and facilitate weight loss while guests enjoy their vacation.
Program activities include outdoor and beach exercises, games to learn about nutrition, yoga, integration with regular hotel activities, challenges and more. As an added value, once guests return home, they will be able to follow up on their personalized program online to monitor results based on the achieved goals and continue to progress and benefit from the program with recommendations and consultations.
The "Viva Eco Wellness by MG program" costs US$180 for a 7-day program. Guests have the option of choosing the number of days in the program prior to or after their arrival.
Routes Americas 2011
Aviation and airport professionals met in Santo Domingo this week to focus on new developments and networking efforts. The event was sponsored by Aerodom, the concessionaire of the Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Samana airports in the DR at the Hotel Embajador from 13-15 February. This was the first time the event had been held in the Caribbean.
For the opening, David Stroud, senior vice president of event organizer Routes, spoke of the role airline route development has in the aviation industry and tourism. Routes Americas is recognized as a networking arena for players in the industry. During the event, the good state of health of the Latin American aviation industry was highlighted, with the particularity of regional cooperation as one of the strengths. Major growth opportunities in the Panamanian, Chilean and Colombian markets were singled out.
Speaking during the strategic aviation forum, Marla Laughlin of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority stressed the importance of research in their planning decision and constant innovating and evolving. She mentioned as a mistake what she called the "child-friendly era" and says Las Vegas has since moved away from that market to focus on their core business of adult-based tourism. The bureau is behind several 90,000-person conventions a year in Las Vegas.
James Fong, assistant director for airline planning at Changi Airport in Singapore, said it was essential to stay limber, listen to partners and customers and work closely with partners. Changi moves 48 million people a year, and is known as a shopping mall with runways.
Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett also focused on the need to constantly reinvent oneself, and mentioned new focus of Jamaica as a major Caribbean convention center with a new center with 5,000-person capacity and leveraging the power of sports tourism and wellness. "We are now going after people's passion, what drives them to travel and go to places," he said. "Baby boomers want to be zoomers, we think we can never die, so we went heavily into spa, health and wellness," he added.
Bartlett commented that Jamaica is now the most connected destination in the English-speaking Caribbean, with one million seats available following government support for airlines in the shape of seat support and marketing. He also mentioned the completion of what he described as "the largest port in the Caribbean" to cater to the cruise tourism business. He mentioned that there were great opportunities in being a homeport.

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