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September 27, 2011
  • Coral Expressway shows progress
  • DR needs to offer more than sun and sand
  • Regulating fishing and restoring reefs in Punta Cana
  • ASONAHORES awards general managersa
  • Washington Post travel write-up
Coral Expressway shows progress
The Coral Expressway that will link La Romana to the Punta Cana Airport is almost 65% complete. The Santo Domingo-Punta Cana route is 227 kilometers, of which a final stretch of 70 kilometers was entrusted to the Brazilian firm of Odebrecht by the Ministry of Public Works. Tecnoamerica is responsible for technical supervision, led by engineer Pedro Delgado Malagon, a former Minister of Public Works.
The stretch will bypass the city of La Romana, expediting traffic to Punta Cana from Santo Domingo. Latest changes in the highway design entrusted to Odebrecht include 15 additional kilometers, adding on US$40 million to the US$360 million Coral Expressway, for a total of US$401 million project for the total 85kms, according to Juvenalito Gusmaos, the engineer in charge for Odebrecht.
The four-lane expressway will cross the La Romana International Airport (LRM), Chavon River, go past the entrance to Bayahibe, follow the Duey River and end at the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) in the province of La Altagracia. The expressway is built so it can be expanded to six lanes in the future.
The access roads are being built and traffic circles in La Romana, Bayahibe, Punta Cana and Higuey are nearly finished and work is progressing according to plan with a target completion date of June 2012.
The expressway will have three bridges over the Chavon, Duey and Santa Clara rivers, and the bridges are almost finished. The bridge over Chavon River will be 300 meters long at a height of 35 meters above the river level.
The roadbed between kilometers 16 and 22 of the highway is in the process of being paved.
Dozens of pieces of heavy equipment are at work on the new expressway, which will have four lanes and allow speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour. The highway will allow rapid access to the east from Santo Domingo.
Odebrecht will retain a 23-year maintenance contract.
Two toll booths are planned, one at Km.18 shortly after the Bayahibe road access and another at Km.58, shortly before the access road to Punta Cana.
DR needs to offer more than sun and sand
Speaking in Paris, the executive director of the Dominican-French Chamber of Commerce, Henry Hebrard, said that the Dominican Republic needed to begin to design new products for tourists in order to attract tourists seeking something other than sun and sand.
Hoy newspaper reports economist Hebrard as saying that tourists will spend more money in the country if they can get them out of the hotel, and this is why new products are needed to offer to visitors, along with better infrastructure and improved safety.
Hebrard mentioned several ideas, including tours of historical areas as well as gastronomic expeditions. He pointed out that the Dominican Republic has more golf courses that all of the rest of the Caribbean combined, but this aspect has not been sufficiently promoted in France. He also mentioned artistic and artisan areas that could be exploited. Finally he cited the Sugar Trail in Barahona, the Ginger Trail in Las Galeras, commenting that several great French chefs have visited the Ginger Trail.
France is the European country that sends the largest number of tourists to the Dominican Republic, exceeding Germany, England and Spain by a wide margin. However, the latest figures on tourist traffic to the Dominican Republic indicate that the numbers of European tourists had gone down. Hebrard said that there were all kinds of reasons for this, but he did mention that the DR needed to make its visitors feel safe above all other issues.
Regulating fishing and restoring reefs in Punta Cana
Grupo Puntacana, through its Punta Cana Ecological Foundation, Cap Cana, Fishing Lodge and the Fishing and Aquiculture Council (Codopesca) have signed an agreement to train and organize fishermen on the east coast of the Dominican Republic and create alternatives to fishing integrated with sustainable tourism. The agreement seeks to implement a Fishery Resources Conservation Plan through an agreement for the co-management of fishing resources along the shoreline, mainly in areas near the tourism and residential developments of Puntacana and Cap Cana, in association with people involved in fishing in the area. The program, which involves the monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing in the region, is backed by research by universities and research institutions in the field. In 2004, the Grupo Puntacana created the Alliance for Economically Sustainable Fishing Areas (PESCA), a long-term project that seeks the continued development of the region and the welfare of coastal areas and coral reefs.
ASONAHORES awards general managers
During the recent 25th Asonahores Trade Show, the leading hotel organization recognized general managers who have made important contributions to the industry.
Susana Villanueva, president of the Asonahores Ladies Committee, gave the keynote speech during the ceremony and stressed that the organization was proud to recognize the members who have made the industry good. The recognitions in 2011 went to:
Gabriel Garcias Pardo, Excellence Punta Cana; Guillermo Montero Medero, Iberostar Punta Cana; Julio Almonte, Hotel Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada; Cesar Guilamo, Hotel Barcelo Dominican Beach, Bavaro; Eduardo Alcalde, Paradisus Palma Real Bavaro-Punta Cana (Sol Melia), and Rafael Telichowski, Hotel Punta Cana Princess.
Others were: Juan Matias Colombo Jimenez, Hotel Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa, Samana; Ricardo Dominguez, Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel; Federico Espinal, Hoteles Caribe Club & Tropical Princess, Bavaro; Claudia Schwarz, Villa Taina; Pablo Jaureguizar, Be Live Grand Punta Cana; Rosalba Guillardi, Villa Serena Samana; Osiris Cid, Grand Paradise Playa Dorada; Kelly Robinson de Schaun, Asociacion de Hoteles La Romana-Bayahibe; and Exmin Carvajal, InterContinental V Centenario Santo Domingo & Holiday Inn Santo Domingo.
Asonahores also recognized several companies for important contributions:
Dominican Fiesta Hotel & Casino, Hotel Occidental El Embajador, Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, Hotel Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, Meeting & Convention Magazine, Paradisus Palma Real, Iberostar Grand Bavaro, Hotel Zoetry Agua Punta Cana, Victoria Resort, Punta Cana International Airport, American Airlines and GTS Dominicana.
Washington Post travel write-up
This week's Washington Post featured a report on travel to the Dominican Republic in a quest to prove the Lonely Planet guidebook wrong. "The DR isn't an especially great destination for shoestring travelers," was the Lonely Planet verdict, dismissing it as the land of all-inclusives.
Kevin Charles Redmon set himself a two-week target to see it all: town, country, highlands and coast, coffee farms and fisheries. In the process, he toured Santo Domingo (Colonial City) and Samana (Las Galeras and Playa Rincon).

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