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May 14, 2013
  • New Colonial City ready by 2014
  • Santo Domingo capital of carnivals
  • Santo Domingo Sheraton to open in December 2013
  • Gray Line opens Punta Cana office
New Colonial City ready by 2014
Speaking recently at DATE Punta Cana, deputy Tourism Minister Radhames Martinez gave a progress report on the physical and people-oriented renovations underway in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo as part of a US$30 million Inter-American Development Bank urban renewal program. He said that the project for the improvement of the Colonial City was part of the trend for urban renewal and a new vision for Latin American cities so they can be more enjoyable for visitors. Latin America is experiencing a rapid growth in popularity with the traveling public.
Improvements in the Colonial City include the installation of underground electric cabling for electricity, telecom and cable services.
Martinez said the facade of the city was being renovated, and 130 properties had already received facelifts.
He said the plan also included solutions to the city's parking problems, and an entertainment program for the Colonial City that will be in place by 2014. Noise control regulations for the area are being incorporated in the program. In the past residents have complained that noise from nightspots makes living in the city difficult.
Martinez said that the program also includes a surveillance system to monitor the area to complement other security efforts.
Martinez said that the project was scheduled for completion by 2015, but President Medina has shown an interest in accelerating works so it can be completed in 2014.
"The country's current priority is the Colonial City," he said.
The city's leading attraction is expected to be ready when the San Pedro and La Romana stretches of the Coral Highway are finished. This will put Punta Cana and its almost two million tourists a year just two hours drive from Santo Domingo.
Santo Domingo capital of carnivals
Radhames Martinez has revealed that Santo Domingo has been declared the Ibero-American Capital of Carnival for 2014. "This new event will be an important addition to the promotion of the city of Santo Domingo as a touristic destination", he stated at DATE Punta Cana. Cadiz held the title in 2012, Montevideo in 2013.
Santo Domingo Sheraton to open in December 2013
The new Starwood Hotels & Restaurants Worldwide hotel will reopen on Santo Domingo's Malecon seafront boulevard. The company says it is recognizing that Santo Domingo is a leading corporate destination. A US$6 million renovation is underway at the former Melia Santo Domingo, the Malecon-fronting property.
The premises will include the first Starbucks in the Dominican Republic. 24-hour dining will be available at the Cafe Casabe. While primarily targeting the business traveler, the hotel will also offer programs with the Westin beach hotel at Playa Blanca and Four Points Starwood hotel in Punta Cana Village, making it possible to combine city with beach and golf activities.
The Santo Domingo hotel will offer all the familiar Sheraton services, including the [email protected] business center concept that will be open 24 hours and high-speed Internet in all rooms. Likewise, as part of the standards that come with the brand, Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds will be included and are specially designed to meet the 5 Diamond Stars of the AAA.
Meeting space is being doubled, with 18,000 square feet to be available in 12 hi-tech breakout rooms, with capacity for 700 people. An additional 10,000 square feet is being added at the Sheraton Malecon Terrace.
Also coming is Sheraton Fitness operated by Core Performance with state-of-the-art fitness programs because the chain believes that travel and fitness go hand in hand.
General manager Dwight Tabales says they are working for the hotel to become the best business hotel in the city.
The Sheraton has a history on the same location. Some 35 years ago it originally opened as a Sheraton. Now the hotel owner company, Hoteles Nacionales is proud to make the investment with Starwood Hotels to bring the iconic brand back to the city. The franchise has been secured for another 15 years.
Gray Line opens Punta Cana office
The largest sightseeing company in the world, with one billion dollars in annual global sales, has set up its own offices and operation in the Dominican Republic. Speaking at DATE 2013 in Punta Cana, international sales director Dale Berridge announced that the company would be offering full tour operator services in the DR, including shuttles, airport express, private transfers, car rentals, managing tour and hotel bookings, and would be operating as a destination management company and meetings organizer.
Gray Line Dominican Republic will offer single and multi-day tours, beachside activities, inland excursions and airport transportation covering all of the Dominican Republic. The company's head office will be in Punta Cana but Gray Line will also have a presence in all of the Dominican Republic's most popular areas.
Yina Javier is the chief marketing officer for the Dominican Republic.

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