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February 7, 2012
  • Southwest announces flights to Punta Cana
  • DR is Partner Country at MITT
  • Carnival time
  • Sereno de la Montana
  • Punta Cana Hard Rock success breeds new chain
Southwest announces flights to Punta Cana
Southwest, the largest airline in the US based on domestic passengers transported, will be flying its colors into Punta Cana soon. The Dallas-based airline made progress on its May 2011 merger with AirTran Airways and will be taking over the AirTran flight into the eastern Dominican airport. On 20 January the airline announced that Punta Cana would become one of 53 cities being added to the Southwest network. Other Caribbean destinations that will be added to the list are Montego Bay, Jamaica, Aruba, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and Nassau, Bahamas, making the low-cost Dallas carrier a new major player in the Caribbean.
DR is Partner Country at MITT
Russian tourists have been increasing their bookings to the Dominican Republic. In recognition of the market growth, the Dominican Republic is the Partner Country at this year's Moscow International Travel and Tourism fair. The event, in its 19th year, is the largest and leading travel and tourism exhibition aimed at the Russian market. It will take place from 21-24 March in Moscow, just 10 days after the closing of the ITB travel fair, the largest travel trade show in the world, in Berlin.
Galina Lyssenko, director of the Dominican Republic tourism office in Russia said that the country had first participated in the fair in 2005 with two exhibitors, but this has consistently increased and now 15 hotel chains and tourist companies will be represented in 2012. She stated that the show was a great platform for business meetings for those interested in the Russian market.
Lyssenko says: "We have no doubt the forthcoming MITT show will be a great success for all exhibitors and we will give everybody a very warm welcome to the Dominican Republic stand. 2012 is very significant year for us, since we plan to give special attention to the Russian market. While the statistics registered only 400 tourists from Russia in 2002, we had record figures in 2011, with the total number of Russian tourists reaching almost 121,000."
Maria Badakh, Head of Sales, Travel Division said: "We are delighted to welcome the Dominican Republic as a Partner Country. Last year, MITT attracted 79,930 visitors and we are proud to contribute to the Dominican Republic's growth in popularity with Russian tourists".
Carnival time
La Vega, Bonao and Santiago's carnival celebrations on Sunday afternoons in February are one of the Dominican Republic's leading annual cultural activities, and should not be missed. Thousands of spectators travel to the central cities to watch the devil-like carnival characters as they frolic and make mischief, providing some great photographic opportunities. Then on Sundays in early March, the best carnival troupes from those three leading carnival towns and others from around the country travel to Santo Domingo for the Sunday, 4 March carnival and to Punta Cana for the Saturday, 10 March carnival. These events are not to be missed.
Sereno de la Montana
Sereno de la Montana seeks to attract travelers who enjoy kayaking, tubing and camping in a mountain forest environment. The eco-lodge received a RD$1.9 million donation from USAID for enhancements that were completed in December 2011. The eco-lodge was fitted with solar panels for electricity, water heaters in the guest rooms, and provided with new equipment for kayaking, tubing and camping. Visitors to the eco-lodge near the Jamao River in the northern community of Los Bueyes in the province of Espaillat (Moca) can also enjoy hiking and horse riding on trails.
The eco-lodge is 34kms from Moca or Cabarete, 30kms from Puerto Plata and 45kms from Santiago (Cibao) and Puerto Plata (Gregorio Luperon) international airports.
Punta Cana Hard Rock success breeds new chain
The success of Punta Cana's Hard Rock resort, the US brand's first all-inclusive hotel, has led Mexican company Palace Resorts to announce the launch of the new brand with flagship Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana and the rebranding of three Palace hotels in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya. The hotels are now being jointly branded as the "All-Inclusive Collection". The brand is managed by chief operating officer Rafael Chapur, son of Roberto Chapur who created the Palace Resorts brand in Mexico 25 years ago.
"When Hard Rock International and Palace Resorts joined together to form a business partnership and create the world's first all inclusive Hard Rock Hotel in the Dominican Republic, we knew the experience would be unlike anything else in the industry," said Rafael Chapur, who created the business model to revive the Palace Resorts business model. He said that The All-Inclusive Collection was developed out of the need to market the properties in a different way to their Palace Resorts counterparts, while creating healthy competition within the marketplace.
The all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana debuted in early 2011, quickly becoming a beachfront celebrity hotspot with 9 restaurants and 12 pools. The hotel features the country's largest casino, with the high-energy Oro Nightclub on the premises.

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