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April 17, 2012
  • Volleyball Grand Prix in Santo Domingo
  • DR could benefit from Taiwan's new flexible diplomacy
  • Dominican Republic in awards shortlist
  • British newspaper encourages independent travel
Volleyball Grand Prix in Santo Domingo
Travel to Santo Domingo to watch some of the best volleyball in the world. Dominican Cristobal Marte, first vice president of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) recently announced the celebration of the Volleyball World Grand Prix Pool B competitions in Santo Domingo. The event, which will be held at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center's Volleyball Pavilion from 8 to 10 June 2012, will be televised by CDN, Channel 37 on Cable TV.
Olympic champions the United States, ranked first, host Dominican Republic, ranked eighth, Germany, ranked ninth and Taiwan, ranked 28th will be competing in the event. The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix is celebrating its 20th edition.
The Grand Prix, regarded as the world's premier annual women's volleyball tournament, is being held from June 8 to July 1 2012 around the world, starting in Santo Domingo this year. Simultaneously Pool A competitions will start in Macau, China (Puerto Rico, China, Thailand and Argentina). Pool C will see action in Busan, South Korea (Japan, Cuba, S. Korea, Turkey). Pool D will compete in Lodz, Poland (Poland, Serbia, Italy and Brazil). This year's event is in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics.
In the 2011 tournament, the DR placed 12th.
A total of 16 teams will again take center stage across three weeks of top-class volleyball action. With each week featuring four pools in four cities, including Santo Domingo, millions of volleyball fans will be able to watch the world's best players compete for a place in the finals.
Competition dates are 8-10 June 2012, 15-17 June 2012, and 22-24 June 2012. The finals will be played 27 June-1 July in Ningbo, China.
For the pools and to follow the series, see
DR could benefit from Taiwan's new flexible diplomacy
New Taiwanese ambassador in the DR Tomas Ping Fu Hou says the Dominican Republic could benefit indirectly once Taiwanese citizens receive the expected entry into the USA Visa Waiver Program. In an interview with El Caribe, he said that the DR could receive more Taiwanese tourists once Taiwan enters the program that would allow Taiwanese citizens to visit the US for up to 90 days for tourism or business without having to apply for a visa.
Ambassador Ping Fu Hou says this could become an opportunity for Dominican Republic to attract Taiwanese visitors on a trip to the US. Taiwanese citizens could be encouraged to combine a vacation in the Dominican Republic, too.
The US Migration authorities are considering the visa-free travel request by the Taiwanese government and this is expected to be approved before the end of the year.
In just three years and with only 23 formal diplomatic allies, Taiwan has secured reciprocal agreements for free landing and visitor visas from 114 countries.
Of the 114 countries granting Taiwan visa-free entry, 94 of them maintain formal diplomatic ties with China, but not with Taiwan. The mutual granting of free visitor visas is seen by Taiwan as a big step towards closer exchanges and cooperation between countries, allowing Taiwan's 23 million people to feel more welcome by the international community, as reported in Taiwan Insight.
This push to help Taiwanese people attain visa waiver status when traveling abroad was initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou soon after he took office in 2008.
In order to break through the diplomatic impasse, and to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China, President Ma asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan to initiate "flexible diplomacy" to replace the former "checkbook diplomacy," and to actively work with foreign governments to grant Taiwanese visitors free entry visa privileges.
President Ma visited the Dominican Republic in August 2008 and met with President Leonel Fernandez. Taiwan is interested in signing a free trade agreement with the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic in awards shortlist
The Dominican Republic has been nominated in 14 categories for the so-called Oscars of the tourism industry, the World Travel Awards (WTA), which will be awarded at a ceremony in Turks and Caicos in September.
Some 217,000 travel sector professionals, including representatives of travel agencies and tourism and transport organizations in 162 countries, will cast their votes.
The Dominican Republic was nominated in the categories of leading airport lines (with the terminals of Punta Cana and La Romana), beach resort, leading cruise destination, sports tourism destination, hotel and leading boutique resort, and leading casino resort in the Caribbean.
The country was also nominated in the categories of airport (Punta Cana and La Romana airports, beach destination, boutique hotel, boutique resort (Catalonia Bavaro Resort), casino resort (Paradisus Punta Cana, Barcelo Bavaro Beach), cruise destination, family all-inclusive (Casa de Campo, Club Med, Melia Caribe Tropical, golf resort (Casa de Campo), green resort (Punta Cana Resort & Club), honeymoon resort (Casa de Campo), luxury all-inclusive (Excellence Punta Cana), new hotel (Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa, Riu Palace Bavaro), leading resort (Casa Colonial, Casa de Campo, Sivory Punta Cana), sports tourism destination and tourist board.
British newspaper encourages independent travel
A recent feature in British newspaper The Telegraph encourages tourists to venture outside the all-inclusive resorts, to see more of the "real" Dominican Republic. The author visited Santo Domingo, Samana, Jarabacoa, Constanza and Sosua, in Puerto Plata, beyond the most popular Punta Cana resorts. The author recommends considering the option of taking domestic flights, and taking a one-hour trip versus a five-hour road trip.

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