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January 28, 2014
  • Messe Berlin to recommend convention center location
  • Prince Felipe and Leticia single out Dominican tourism
  • InterCaribbean announces San Juan-Samana flights
  • Dominican Republic tops growth
  • NYTimes likes Barahona
Messe Berlin to recommend convention center location
During this month's Fitur Travel Trade Show in Madrid, Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia Fernandez announced that it had agreed with Messe of Berlin to update a 2008 study. Garcia Fernandez said that they reached an agreement with Messe general manager David Ruetz that the update would be ready within six months. Messe of Berlin will be studying possible locations for the convention center in addition to its recommendations following the 2008 research. In 2008 the Dominican government contracted the first study, which cost EUR119,000, to determine the best site for the convention center, its capacity, the type of businesses that should be included in the final design, and other aspects.
The initiative will involve government and private sector operators. "This is a project that has the full support of the government," said Garcia in Madrid.
He said the center is seen as a key element in the sustained growth of the sector. The DR received 4.6 million tourists last year who are said to have contributed US$5.08 billion to the economy.
Garcia said that there have been discussions about providing the city with a convention center for several years. He said that the recent improvements to the Colonial City and the new highways that make Santo Domingo more accessible to the millions of tourists visiting the East coast beach destinations mean this is even more important now.
David Ruetz says the convention center will create jobs and increase revenue for the country.
Messe Berlin operates Europe's largest congress center, the ICC Berlin.
At the Dominican Annual Travel Exchange (DATE) in 2013, Deputy Minister Radhames Martinez said that the government would build the center, but the private sector would be the operator. The plan is for the center to be completed before the end of the Medina administration in August 2016. Sans Souci Group has also proposed the construction of a convention center in eastern Santo Domingo.
Prince Felipe and Leticia single out Dominican tourism
Prince Felipe and his wife Leticia chose the Dominican Republic stand to open their visits to the annual Fitur trade show in Madrid on 22 January. This is Spain's leading travel show. More than 9,000 companies from 165 countries take part, and around 200,000 visitors come every year. Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia hosted the Spanish royals at the stand together with leading Dominican tourism industry representatives, including Luis Rodriguez Amiama, president of the National Association of Hotels and Tourism and Arturo Villanueva, executive vice president of the Association.
www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/01/23/i450151_prncipe-asturias-visita-stand-repblica-dominicana-fitur-2014.html
www.presscentre.ifema.es/index.php/es/prensa/noticias-feriales?identificador=INS_031812
InterCaribbean announces San Juan-Samana flights
Previously operating as Air Turks & Caicos, the airline now flying as InterCaribbean Airways has announced new schedules to connect Puerto Plata (POP) and Samana (AZS) airports with San Juan, Puerto Rico. The company will also be flying between Turks & Caicos and Puerto Rico. The airline has flown to Puerto Plata, on the north coast, for several years.
The Samana Tourism Cluster and Samana Tourist Enterprises Association welcomed the news of the new flight that will open up new options for travel to the northeastern beach destination. The destination is already served from New York by JetBlue.
The new flight starts 16 February 2014 with introductory fares. To reserve, see www.flyairtc.com or call 1-888-957-3223. The airline uses Embraer 120 and Haya 99 aircraft. It already operates flights from Grand Turks and Caicos to Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and Santiago in the DR. It also has flights to Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince in Haiti, to Kingston, Jamaica, and Nassau in the Bahamas.
The new flights follow the launch of another regional airline, Seaborne Airlines, which is now flying from San Juan to La Romana, improving inter-regional access to the Dominican Republic.
www.seaborneairlines.com to book online.
Dominican Republic tops growth
The Dominican Republic is the top producer in Caribbean bookings for Expedia, the online travel company. The company reported that bookings for travel to the Caribbean region grew 20% in the first three quarters of 2013 and that travel bookings to the Dominican Republic increased by 33% in demand last year. The company announced the news during the Caribbean Travel Marketplace conference in Montego Bay last week.
The company said that travel demand for the Caribbean grew the most in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Brazil.
NYTimes likes Barahona
Barahona, on the southwest coast of the Dominican Republic, has made the list of The New York Times 52 Places To Go in 2014. The places are chosen by the newspaper's travel editors by asking dozens of their contributing editors and then aiming for a selection of places that they expect to be particularly compelling in the coming year; reasons might include a museum opening, a new transportation option or a historic anniversary. The main goal is to have a variety of regions and interests, with some surprises mixed in. They also try for a mix of scale, including cities, regions and even entire countries.
Barahona is mentioned for being a "scenic, low-key destination on the verge of discovery."
Editor Sanjay Surana writes: "Most vacationers to La Republica hole up in the all-inclusives north and east, overlooking the rarely traveled southwest. The port town of Barahona is the gateway to the cactus-strewn region's riches, like the hauntingly beautiful Bahia de las Aguilas beach and the eight climate zones at the geological depression Hoyo de Pelempito, both blissfully devoid of people. But there are signs of the government's vision to develop the area. The abandoned former Barcelo Bahoruco Beach Resort will partly open in 2014, and two separate 300-room projects - near La Canoa and San Rafael Beach - are in the final stages of design approval. For now, you can experience the quiet life at the thatch-roofed Casa Bonita, or at Rancho Platon, which has a tree house raised between the palms."
www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/10/travel/2014-places-to-go.html

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