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September 9, 2014
  • Simon Suarez: Best time to take on Asonahores presidency
  • Ministry of Tourism: Tourist up 12.8% in August
  • Asonahores Trade Exhibit in Punta Cana
  • New colors in the Colonial City
  • Learning how cacao becomes chocolate
Simon Suarez: Best time to take on Asonahores presidency
During his formal presentation at the Embassy Suites last week, the new president of the National Hotel & Tourism Association, Simon Suarez told his tourism industry colleagues and the general public that he was accepting the challenge at the best of times for the Dominican tourism industry. He mentioned the record 9.7% growth in tourist arrivals for July 2014, and the record 79% year round occupancy rate. He said the challenge now is to keep up the pace all year round and beyond, in order to achieve the goal of 10 million tourists by 2022 that was announced by President Danilo Medina at the start of his term of office.
He spoke of acting to implement land use planning, and to encourage hotels to go outside their gates to empower local communities, better coordination with all government departments, more promotion, improved security, better and more data for intelligent decisions, and the construction of the convention and fair facility in Santo Domingo. He said Santo Domingo needed to be the focus of city, shopping, business and convention tourism.
He also commented that while people in the industry have been seeing him around for almost half a century, this is the first time he has taken on the presidency of Asonahores. Suarez, nevertheless, joined the board during the days of Mario Bonetti in the 1970s. Suarez is a former president of the Tourism Promotion Board (CPT), the longtime promotional arm of Asonahores that cooperated with the Ministry of Tourism on promotional matters. He is also a former president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.
Ministry of Tourism: Tourist up 12.8% in August
Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia says that the country has received 3,608,955 non-resident air arrivals between January and August 2014, which is 301,387 more visitors than in August 2013. Travel in August alone was 12.8% up on last year.
Garcia said that for the first eight months of the year, travel was up by 9.1%, considerably more than the world average of 3-4%, according to the World Tourism Organization.
Garcia attributed the increase to the strength of the US market. He said that in August there were 173,523 more US arrivals, a 16% increase. Canada also sent 14% more visitors, or 32,608 travelers.
France is the third largest source market for tourists to the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Tourism announced that 1,352,137 tourists arrived from the United States, 530,542 from Canada and 159,064 from France during the first eight months of the year.
Garcia added that the good year also owed a lot to the promotional campaigns by the Ministry of Tourism and the private sector.
Asonahores Trade Exhibit in Punta Cana
The National Hotel & Tourism Association (Asonahores) Trade Exhibition opens at the Bavaro Convention and Exhibition Center on Wednesday, 10 September 2014. This is the country's leading trade exhibition, which has been taking place in Punta Cana in recent years given that the highest concentration of hotel rooms is located in the east coast resort area. The exhibition will last through 12 September.
New colors in the Colonial City
Architect Mauricia Dominguez is responsible for choosing the new colors that will be added as 120 houses in the Colonial City are spruced up, part of the general facelift the 500-year old historic city center is currently undergoing.
The addition of colors to the Colonial City may surprise many, but Columbia University architectural graduate Karla Quinones, in an interview with Diario Libre, says that it is a myth that the Colonial City was all white. Architect Dominguez has proved that between the 16th and 17th centuries colors were used on the stone buildings. Yellows, reds, greens and even blues have been found when the old buildings have been examined. Dominguez said that white always prevailed because lime was used to finish the buildings. A first group of 37 houses are undergoing restoration, and in agreement with the owners, livelier colors are being used.
The first houses are located on Arzobispo Merino, Hostos, Salome Urena, Luperon, Jose Reyes, Las Mercedes, Duarte and 19 de Marzo streets.
Learning how cacao becomes chocolate
The annual Cacao Festival will take place in San Francisco de Macoris, capital of the country's main cacao-producing area, from 2 to 5 October 2014. The event has the sponsorship of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Environment and leading cacao businesses and is being organized by Producciones Mayo PG. This year several of the fair events for trade and general public will be held at the city's Duarte Park, following the style of the popular Bani mango festival that takes place every June. With the addition of activities for children, the whole family is now being invited to attend. The program includes tastings and food-making competitions with chocolate as the main ingredient, stalls selling recycled arts and crafts, and artistic and cultural shows every evening.
In essence, visitors to the fair will be able to follow the process of turning cacao into chocolate.
For more information, call 829-898-0201 / 829-579-7233 / 829-632-0508

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