RSSAll Entries in the "Old News" Category

19th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival delights music lovers

Josean Jocobo

Dominican piano man Josean Jocobo. Photo courtesy of the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival.

The 19th edition of the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival brought five nights of free concerts to the Dominican North Coast recently, delighting an estimated 12,650 music patrons in four cities.

Presented by FEDUJAZZ and the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, the Nov. 4-8 festival featured an all-star lineup of outstanding musicians who performed in Santiago, Sosúa, Puerto Plata and Cabarete.

Artists for the 2015 festival included Grammy Award winners David Sanchez (Puerto Rico) and John Patitucci (USA), and the Grammy-nominated Pedrito Martinez Group, along with other outstanding talents: Josean Jacobo (Dominican Republic), Roy Assaf Trio (Israel), Berklee Global Jazz Institute (USA), Javier Vargas and The Big Band Conservatory of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) with special guests Jim Kelly, Jim Odgren and Jason Camelio (USA).

Additional prominent artists included the Student Loan String Band (USA), Manuel Tejada (Dominican Republic), Mario Canonge Trio (France) and Pengbian Sang and Retro Jazz (Dominican Republic).

Pedrito Martinez Group

Grammy-nominated Pedrito Martinez Group. Photo courtesy of the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival.

The largest free event of its kind in the Caribbean, the festival also paid homage to several of its own beloved national treasures, with tributes to renowned Dominican saxophone players and composers / arrangers Juan Colón, Sandy Gabriel and Crispin Fernandez.

In addition to delighting jazz lovers at the evening shows, several of the artists led daytime music workshops for more than 1,500 North Coast schoolchildren.

FEDUJAZZ, the music education foundation of the festival, currently provides 150 local children with free, ongoing music education and training at its new center in Cabarete.

In December, FEDUJAZZ will expand its music programs to include 73 children now on the waiting list. The programs will be divided into five age groups: 7 to 8 year olds, 8 to 9 year olds, 10 to 11 year olds, 12 to 14 year olds and 15 to 18 year olds.

The festival has also announced an exciting, new alliance with the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Matt Marvuglio, dean of the college’s Performance Division, and Marco Pignataro, college managing director, will join the festival’s Artistic Advisory Board, beginning with selection of artists for the 2016 event. Mr. Marvuglio and Mr. Pignataro will also serve as FEDUJAZZ advisors.

Since its inception, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival has presented internationally renowned Latin Grammy and Grammy Award-winning musicians from around the world. This enriching addition to the diverse culture of the country allows for visitors and locals alike to enjoy all forms of jazz in the beautiful setting of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival will celebrate its 20th edition in 2016 on the following dates:

• Nov. 8 – Santo Domingo

• Nov. 9 – Santiago

• Nov. 10 – Puerto Plata

• Nov. 11 & 12 – Cabarete

Sponsors for the 2015 festival included Ron Macorix, JetBlue, the U.S. Embassy, Berklee Global Jazz Institute, Gratereaux Delva & Associates Law Firm, Sea Horse Ranch Luxury Resort, Ultravioleta Boutique Residences, Millennium Resort & Spa, Casa Linda, the Municipality of Sosua, Cibao Recycling and Ban Reservas.

For more information, visit

Talented lineup headlines 19th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Internationally renowned musicians from Cuba, France, Israel, Puerto Rico, the USA and, of course, the Dominican Republic will take the stage at the 19th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, which will bring five nights of free concerts, Nov. 4-8, to Santiago, Sosúa, Puerto Plata and Cabarete.19th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Presented by FEDUJAZZ and the Dominican Ministry of Tourism, the highly anticipated cultural event is the longest-running jazz festival in the Caribbean.

In addition to the talented lineup, festival organizers announced that Matt Marvuglio, dean of the performance division at Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts), and Marco Pignataro, managing director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, are joining the Artistic Advisory Board for the festival and will serve as advisors to FEDUJAZZ, the education foundation that provides free music education for Dominican youth.

Since its inception, the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival has presented internationally renowned Latin Grammy and Grammy Award-winning musicians such as Ignacio Berroa, Joe Lovano, Chuck Mangione, Ray Baretto, Néstor Torres, Chucho Valdés, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez and Arturo Sandoval among many other talents.

The festival is free, but VIP tickets are available, enabling priority seating, complimentary beverages and other perks, with proceeds benefiting FEDUJAZZ. Here’s the lineup:

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 8 p.m. – Santiago, Centro Leon

  • Big Band Conservatory of Santo Domingo with Javier Vargas (Dominican Republic) featuring special Guests Jim Kelly, Jim Odgren and Jason Camelio (USA)
  • Tribute to Juan Colon (Dominican Republic)
  • Student Loan String Band (USA)

Thursday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m. – Sosúa, Casa Marina Amphitheater

  • Big Band Conservatory of Santo Domingo with Javier Vargas (Dominican Republic) featuring special guests Jim Kelly, Jim Odgren and Jason Camelio (USA)
  • Roy Assaf Trio (Israel)

Friday, Nov. 6, 8 p.m. – Puerto Plata, Plaza Independencia

  • Manuel Tejada (Dominican Republic)
  • Berklee Global Jazz Institute (USA)
  • Tribute to Sandy Gabriel (Dominican Republic)
  • David Sánchez Quintet (Puerto Rico)

Saturday, Nov. 7, 8 p.m. – Cabarete Beach

  • Youth Concerts – Noon (Dominican Republic)
  • Josean Jacobo (Dominican Republic)
  • John Patitucci (USA)

Sunday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m. – Cabarete Beach

  • Mario Canonge Trio (France)
  • Pengbian Sang and Retro Jazz (Dominican Republic)
  • Tribute to Crispin Fernandez (Dominican Republic)
  • Pedrito Martinez Group (Cuba)

The FEDUJAZZ music program aims to provide children with free music programs that enhance their overall education and increase life opportunities. Currently there are over 150 students attending free music classes at the new center in Cabarete. Additionally, over 1,000 schoolchildren from the North Coast of the Dominican Republic participate in the music workshops jazz festival musicians.

The 19th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival is presented by the Ministry of Tourism, and sponsors include Ron Macorix, JetBlue, the U.S. Embassy, Berklee Global Jazz Institute, Gratereaux Delva & Associates Law Firm, Sea Horse Ranch Luxury Resort, Ultravioleta Boutique Residences, Millennium Resort & Spa, Casa Linda, the Municipality of Sosúa, Cibao Recycling and BanReservas.

Puerto Plata: The Caribbean’s newest cruise destination

Puerto Plata welcomed its first cruise ship in nearly 30 years on Oct. 6 when the Carnival Victory, carrying nearly 3,000 guests, docked at the new Amber Cove Cruise Center.

Carnival Victory at Amber Cove Cruise Center. Photo courtesy of the Dominican Ministry of Tourism.

Carnival Victory at Amber Cove Cruise Center. Photo courtesy of the Dominican Ministry of Tourism.

Visitors received a colorful welcome as they arrived at the 30-acre cruise center, which features bars, restaurants, retail outlets and an elaborate pool area with water slides that guests can enjoy for free.

Representatives of nearby Ocean World greeted passengers with a sign: “You are the first group of cruise ship clients in our history.”  Dancers in colorful, traditional dress performed as guests strolled through the plaza.

The Victory was the first eight Carnival ships that will call at Amber Cove during the port’s inaugural season. Ships from Holland America, Princess and Costa will also bring guests to Amber Cove. Starting in April, Carnival Corp.’s new fathom brand will bring the first bi-weekly “social impact” cruises to Amber Cove from Miami.

The Caribbean’s newest destination, Amber Cove will be able to accommodate up to 8,000 cruise passengers and 2,000 crew members daily. The two-berth facility on the Bay of Maimon is expected to host more than 250,000 cruise passengers in its first year of operation. A transportation hub allows visitors easy access by land and sea to nearby destinations.

A joint project between Carnival Corp. & plc and the Rannik family of Grupo B&R, the more than $65 million project was designed to re-establish the Dominican Republic’s North Shore as a popular cruise destination.

Puerto Plata amphitheater on target for March completion

Construction of a waterfront, 3,500-seat amphitheater in Puerto Plata should be completed by the end of March 2015, according to a recent update from the Ministry of Tourism.

Artist's rendering of new Puerto Plata amphitheater. Image courtesy of Ministry of Tourism

Artist’s rendering of new Puerto Plata amphitheater. Image courtesy of Ministry of Tourism

Adjacent to the historic San Felipe fortress, the nearly $6 million (USD) project is reshaping the entire Puntilla del Malecón, which will become even more of a cultural destination for tourists and locals alike.

Another facet of the project, which began in early 2014, includes repairs and repainting of historic, Victorian architecture that is sprinkled throughout Puerto Plata.

As Tourism Ministry leaders had hoped, the work will be completed well ahead of the opening of the new Amber Cove Cruise Center, just west of Puerto Plata at the Bay of Maimon. The first cruise ship, the Carnival Victory, is scheduled to arrive for a daylong call on Oct. 6. Thousands of passengers will disembark for excursions throughout Puerto Plata province.

Construction of amphitheater. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Tourism

Construction of amphitheater. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Tourism

Damajagua volunteer Joe Kennedy re-elected to Congress

U.S. Rep. Joseph Patrick Kennedy III, a former Peace Corps volunteer who worked on sustainable tourism for Damajagua Falls, has been re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kennedy, a Democrat who represents Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District, coasted to a second term on Nov. 4 with no opposition.

Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy waves to crowds at the Boston Pride Parade on June 14, 2014. Photo: Joe Kennedy for Congress Facebook page

As a Peace Corps volunteer from 2004-2006, Kennedy used his business acumen and his connections to prevent the stunning Damajagua Falls attraction (27 Charcos) from being monopolized by private tour companies, which were paying local guides only a few dollars per trip.

He worked side by side with community members in the Damajagua Falls Guides Association to win a government concession that secured local control over the site and ensured fair pay for the guides, among other improvements.

Kennedy recounted his experience as part of an October 2014 article in America magazine:

“We convinced the government to put the park under local control, allowing the community to set wages and craft safety precautions. We raised money and built a small business to run the park operations with more local autonomy,” he wrote. “We set up a community reinvestment fund so that a portion of every entrance fee went into the local neighborhood—to build a bridge, buy a school bus, bring clean water to the community.”

Kennedy, who is the grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, came to work in Puerto Plata after graduating in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. After leaving he completed a law degree at Harvard Law School in 2009. He was an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County in Massachusetts when he ran for his first term in 2012.

Joe Kennedy III

Congressman Joe Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. Photo: Congressman Joe Kennedy III Facebook page

Damajagua’s Joe Kennedy wins US Congress seat

Joe Kennedy III

Many Dominicans have a personal relationship with one of the winners in the November US election. Joseph Patrick Kennedy III, who spent two years in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer working on the successful Damajagua Falls sustainable community tourism project, was elected to represent Massachusetts in the US House of Representatives. A Democrat, he defeated Republican Sean Bielat 61% to 36%. Kennedy was a key volunteer in a landmark sustainable ecotourism project using his skills to work both at the grassroots and high political levels. He worked side-by-side with community members in the Damajagua Falls Guides Association to win a government concession that enabled them to directly benefit from the leading ecotourism attraction. During his two years living in the community, between 2004 and 2006, he used his business acumen and his connections to prevent the resource from being privatized. Kennedy, who is the grandson of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, came to work in Puerto Plata after graduating in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. After leaving he completed a law degree at Harvard Law School in 2009. He was an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County in Massachusetts when he decided to run for office. See the New York Times article


Carnival announces $65 million cruise port for Maimon Bay

Carnival Corp. is turning its sights on the Dominican Republic. The cruise company confirmed it has signed a memorandum of understanding to finance a $65 million port facility and retail/restaurant/recreation complex geared towards cruise passengers just west of Puerto Plata on the country’s north coast.

Carnival is partnering with the Rannik family – which has shipping operations in the DR – on the project, which includes a docking facility at Maimon Bay that will be able to accommodate two post-Panamax (over 1,000-feet) ships.

In addition to retail and recreation, the space will also include a transportation hub, Carnival said. The facility is expected to open in Fall 2013.

Carnival Corp. already has a long-term deal with the Dominican government to rent a small island, Catalina, about five miles off La Romana, which serves as a private island for its Costa Cruises (and where topless sunbathing is allowed on some quiet beaches).

The company did not say which ships or brands – which also include Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn – might visit the new Puerto Plata facility.

Additional details will be announced at a later time, a spokeswoman said.

The new deal follows Carnival’s pattern of investing in ports when it needs more places to put its growing fleet of ships. Carnival opened port facilities with retail complexes in Grand Turk in 2006; Cozumel, Mexico, in 2008; and $62 million Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras.

Grand Turk was originally opened for Holland America ships but is now visited by seven brands and has become the third most popular of Carnival Corp.’s Caribbean ports after Nassau and Cozumel, according to Carnival officials. Facilities include the Caribbean’s largest Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville bar.

From: Fran Golden, USA Today

Air Turks & Caicos to fly Puerto Plata – San Juan PR

Turk and Caicos announced that it will start daily flights from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to the popular Caribbean hub of San Juan, Puerto Rico from April 15th, subject to regulatory approvals.   The announcement was made at a lavish reception hosted for the airline by the Dominican Tourism Authorities at the upscale Hemingway’s Cafe in Puerto Plata on Monday, January 17th, and was attended by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, César José de los Santos, the Chamber of Commerce as well as representatives from local hotel and tourism organizations.
The airline was represented by its top executives, Chairman Lyndon Gardiner, CEO Darrell Richardson,  VP, Business Development Deborah Aharon and VP of Flight Standards Capt. Harold Williams.
Deputy Minister De los Santos thanked the airline executives for choosing Puerto Plata as their new gateway to San Juan and assured them that the initiative would have the full support of the Minister of Tourism Sr. Francisco Javier Garcia and his Ministry.
President of the Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce Amaurys Plá also welcomed the company and noted that with the opening of the new route would also come new business opportunities for trading of goods and services as well as tourism, and reiterated his organization’s support.
Max Iglesias, president of the Northern Hotel Association, thanked the executives of Air Turksand Caicos and said that he was pleased that the route would open up many potential connections with other Caribbean islands, and President of the Hotel Association for the popular  Playa Dorada region Roberto Casoni said that the daily flights would offer more flexibility and convenience that he expected would result in longer stays by visitors.
After the welcoming speeches by the local authorities, Chairman of Air Turks and CaicosLyndon R. Gardiner surprised and delighted the crowd by addressing them in their native Spanish, explaining the history of the airline, which started with a single piston aircraft in 1992 as InterIsland Airways.  After changing the name to Air Turks and Caicos to better reflect this country’s identity and national pride, the airline continued to grow and now has a fleet of 15 mainly turbine aircraft, ranging in size from 9 to 30 passengers.
He also spoke about the long history of friendship and trade between the two countries, recalling the days of old when folks often sailed from North Caicos to the Dominican Republic in fishing boats to trade dried conch for produce and rum.
Gardiner told the crowd to much applause that this new route was an important step in realizing his dream to unite the Caribbean Islands through more convenient  and expanded connections that promoted trade and tourism.  He expressed his wish that the separate Caribbean nations would focus more closely on cooperative marketing for the benefit of the entire region.
The Air Turks and Caicos flights would all originate in Providenciales, thereby offering connections between Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and points beyond in the Eastern Caribbean.

From: The Turks & Caicos Sun

New arrival at Ocean World, a baby sea lion

PUERTO PLATA—Ocean World Adventure Park executives announced the birth of a baby sea lion, born July 24 during the day, after a labor of about an hour. Parents are named Chacha and Jefe , both 9 years old and originally from Uruguay. The pup is a male who, at birth, weighed 25 pounds. The delivery occurred in breech position (fins first), contrary to the usual head first

This is the second event of its kind to be recorded at the site, as in 2006 a bottlenose dolphin “Lili.” was born under human care at the park.

Chacha, the pup’s mother, nursed him after 8 hours of birth. He swam for the first time at 11 days old and is already a confident swimmer. “Like all babies, is very playful and loves to play with pieces of ice, hoses and other toys made by the coaches,” said Diego Tripaldi, General Director of the company.

“We are very happy to share this important news to the media, society and all Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, since the birth of this new baby sea lion symbolizes our commitment to preserving the environment, diversity of life, care and respect for all animal species that inhabit Ocean World,” said

Chacha's baby sea lion was born July 24th at Ocean World


This species of sea lions, whose scientific name is “Otaria flavescens”, also known as “Otaria byronia” are born after 11 months of gestation. This species is not endangered. The breast milk of these mammals has a high fat content, which is why the young gain weight rapidly. Adult females average 6 feet long with a weight of 330 pounds, while adult males average 8 feet long with a weight of 650 pounds.

The training of the new baby will start from the time when he can eat solid food (fish). Among the initial behaviors he will learn will be relaxation techniques to allow the veterinarians to perform routine checks, which ensure a long and healthy life.

From the first moment that the team of experts at the park were aware of the state of gestation of the sea lion Chacha, all necessary care was taken to ensure the well being of both mother and the baby.

Details of this event were announced during a cocktail held in the park’s facilities along with representatives of the media, authorities and society personalities of Puerto Plata. The event was led by Diego Tripaldi, general director of the park, along with marketing and sales executives and staff responsible for the care of the pup.

The executives stressed the satisfaction that Ocean World has to have successfully nurtured the second birth of an exotic animal in their facilities. As evidence that these species under human care can live long, healthy and safe lives.

Since last summer the park has developing an educational campaign aimed at children to create awareness about important issues such as the care and protection of animals and the preservation of our planet’s natural resources.

Ocean World Adventure Park, Marina & Casino, is one of the most important and complete entertainment centers in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean region. Located on Cofresi Beach in Puerto Plata this unique park stands along with a majestic building which houses it’s restaurants, casino, bar, theater with live shows, disco and an elegant marina.

DR invites logo designers to create new tourism icon

Dominican Republic – Nov. 12, 2009 – The Dominican Republic (DR) Ministry of Tourism is seeking aspiring designers to create a new tourism logo design that reflects the growing recognition and stature of the DR as the world’s premier Caribbean destination. The DR is opening the competition to the world’s graphic designers to celebrate the increasing amount of global visitors who come to enjoy the large island nation’s magnificent natural beauty, amazing culture, history, and diverse accommodations and activities.

“Since the DR attracts nearly five million visitors from around the world each year, we want to welcome all international designers interested in taking part to do so, with particular emphasis on young emerging and new designers,” said Magaly Toribio, DR Ministry of Tourism’s Vice Minister of International Promotion. “The new design will help us visually represent the DR’s magnificent natural appeal to travelers all around the world and will be used on all DR tourism promotional materials.”

Winners will receive prizes including a trip to the DR. Ranked a top destination for sun, sea and sand, the DR was named the second happiest nation in the world by Britain’s New Economics Foundation this year. Known for lush tropical beauty, mountains, waterfalls and amazing coastlines, approximately 25 percent of the DR has been protected as national parks and nature preserves and is the most bio-diverse country in the Caribbean. Deadline for entry is Dec. 30, 2009. For full details on how to enter, including terms, conditions and prizes, please visit:

#  #  #

The Dominican Republic’s first tourist was Christopher Columbus in 1492. Rich in history, the DR has developed into a diverse destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to nearly 5 million visitors each year. Named #1 Golf Destination in the Caribbean & Latin America by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, the DR boasts 25 designer golf courses, upscale resorts, pristine nature, sophisticated cities and quaint villages filled with warm Dominican people. The DR features the best beaches, fascinating history and culture, and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families alike. Visit the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official Web site at:

Research and Markets: The Dominican Republic Is Suffering Less Than Many Other Caribbean Countries from the Tourist Slowdown

DUBLIN – (Business Wire)

2009 Arrivals Continue To Suffer The Caribbean is continuing to suffer heavily from the downturn in the global tourist industry. Of the 21 countries reporting 2009 figures, only three experienced an increase in tourist arrivals. These were: Cuba, with arrivals growth of 2.0% year-on-year; Jamaica, with 0.2% growth; and Saba, with 1.4% growth. Even such growth rates are well below those traditionally enjoyed by the region of 8-10%. Moreover, some countries reported major drops in tourist arrivals. The worst affected were Anguilla (-21.4%), the British Virgin Islands (-25.1%), St Maarten (-16.1%) and the Bahamas (-15.3%).

The Caribbean is suffering particularly heavily from the downturn because it has historically been one of the more expensive tourist destinations and therefore is marketed more towards high-end and luxury travelers. With incomes suffering globally, tourists appear to be choosing cheaper and closer holiday destinations at the expense of the Caribbean. Also, much of the Caribbean’s tourism has been concentrated in the cruise industry, which is suffering in line with other luxury travel options. With Q209 arrivals appearing to continue the downward trend, we remain negative on prospects for Caribbean arrivals in 2009, especially given the start of the hurricane season in August.

Focus On The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is suffering less than many other Caribbean countries from the tourist slowdown. In the first four months of 2009 arrivals fell by 4.8% year-on-year (y-o-y), making it the fifth best performing country in the region.

The country is weathering the downturn better than some of its neighbours for several reasons. For one, it possesses a highly developed tourist infrastructure, with substantial developments along the beachfront and a good balance between charter holiday and high-end resorts. Its long coastline gives it an abundance of locations, while the capital, Santo Domingo, provides a good base for travellers wishing to explore more of the country. Unlike some other Caribbean destinations, the Dominican Republic benefits from a varied landscape, with tourists able to explore the beaches and the mountainous interior. These factors should help it to mitigate the effects of the 2009 downturn and position it for a recovery into 2010.

DUBLIN – (Business Wire) Research and Markets( has announced the addition of the “Caribbean Tourism Report Q4 2009” report to their offering.

The Caribbean Tourism Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, tourism associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the Caribbean’s tourism industry.

For more information visit

Research and Markets
Laura Wood, Senior Manager,
U.S. Fax: 646-607-1907
Fax (outside U.S.): +353-1-481-1716


“Dame Fodor’s” graces the north coast

Photo Caption: Fodors’ correspondent Eileen Robinson Smith enjoys a gourmet meal at Puerto Plata’s Aleph Restaurant

PUERTO PLATA—This month, businesses along the north coast welcomed Eileen Robinson Smith, 17-year correspondent for the prestigious Fodor’s Guide to the Caribbean and Fodor’s Dominican Republic.

Ms. Smith visits annually to update the guide. Her advice and recommendations enjoy a loyal following of upscale readers seeking quality and luxury and travel recommendations. Considering the influence that a stroke of her pen may have on  this important audience, her views on Puerto Plata are of note.

“Puerto Plata is interesting because it is a real city, where you get an authentic Caribbean experience, with an added Latin spice. It’s not just a man-made tourist attraction, it’s the real deal.”

Ms. Smith was complimentary, noting that the city is “looking better than ever. I’m so pleased to see the renovations of Central Park completed. It looks fabulous,” she said. “The Malecon is delightful too, with that long stretch of reconstructed beach that looks out to the rocky islets.”

She lauded the recent announcement of a museum to be in the family home of (instead of historical) (Dominican Revolutionary hero, General Gregorio Luperon, who was a native of Puerto Plata. She exhorted the community to make more investments in the restoration of the city’s colonial architecture: “Restoring and furnishing the “gingerbread” houses as they would have been, say at the turn-of-the-century, and opening them for house tours could attract numbers of tourists to the city. Folkloric performances and other cultural events held in El Parque Central would also be a magnet!”

Meanwhile, she criticized what she called the exorbitant taxi fares imposed upon visitors. For the first time, she chose to rent a car, instead. What Puerto Plata needs to do now is to facilitate inexpensive transportation so that tourists can get downtown easily and cheaply, she said. “It will never succeed with current taxi fares. I am aware that the cost of both purchasing a vehicle and gas is more here than in the states, but taxi fares are higher in the D.R. than in New York City!”

During her north coast sojourn, she visited with Tourism chief Cesar De Los Santos and checked in on a number of north coast establishments.  Among them were Sea Horse Ranch, Casa Colonial, Victoria Hotel, Gran Ventana, Barcelo, Blue Bay Hotel, The Bungalows at Sun Village, Tubagua Plantation Village, Aleph Restaurant, Villa Castellamonte and Hotel La Catalina. Many more places are on her itinerary both on the North Coast and throughout the country.

This January and February, is creating an editorial platform designed to help winter-weary travelers find the best warm-weather escape for them. The program is entitled “80 Degrees, Your Ideal Winter Escape.” The Dominican Republic will be featured prominently within this program. One of the components is a slideshow that will highlight the best experiences the country has to offer. Ms. Smith is “shooting” her way through the island to supply the photos.

The POP Report Home Page

Tourist arrival statistics for May 09

May stats for tourist arrivals show Canada as the leading source of tourists for the Dominican Republic so far this year. Some 21,491 more Canadians visited this May than in May 2008.
Travel this May was also up from emerging markets, namely Russia (4,730 more travelers), Portugal (+2,514), Ecuador (+1,734) and Sweden (+1,009).
But the economic crisis took its toll on travel from the US (down 24,701), France (-21,691), Spain (-18,185), Germany (-9,931) and Italy (-8,121).
Non-resident tourist arrivals so far accounted for in the first five months was 1,814,584, 3.69% down from the same period in 2008.
Punta Cana continued to be the preferred point of entry for foreign arrivals, with 56,72% of visitors. Las Americas (Santo Domingo) was next with 17.50% market share, Puerto Plata with 16.57%, La Romana with 4.54% and the airports of Cibao, La Isabela (in northern Santo Domingo) and El Catey (Samana) showed the remaining 4.67%.
The Central Bank says that for every 100 tourists, 57 are 21 to 49 years old.
Of the foreign non-resident arrivals, 90.9% stayed at hotels.
For more tourism statistical reports, see


Photo courtesy

Canadian business leader meets with tourism minister

CABRERA- A Canadian business leader hailed the Tourism Ministry’s decision to motor the development of the town Cabrera, in the country’s northeast, noting that it’s a very attractive area for international investors.

Rebecca McDonald, who built a villa at a cost of more than US$20.0 million in Orchid Bay, a gated community in Cabrera, said she’s happy with Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia’s interest when he announced the opening of a Project Planning Office and for visualizing that tourism region’s re-launching.

She also praised the announced construction of a seaside boulevard (malecon), as well as Garcia’s effort with government agencies to solve the zone’s energy and potable water problems. “I’m very happy that you, the Minister of Tourism, are here as part of your interest to draw attention to this place that is so pretty.”

McDonald said she’s been visiting Dominican Republic since around 20 years ago and the land’s beauty and the warmth of its people is what led her to invest in a villa, which serves as lodging for businesspersons, politicians and international personalities who wish to spend some time here.

She added that the Dominican’s gentleness and this land’s beauty have made her promote it to investors and visitors, who enjoy the warm of this Caribbean destination.


UN will be consulted on controversial cement plant installations

President Leonel Fernandez announced yesterday that he requested of the United Nations Environment Program, through United Nations National Development  Program (UNDP), to evaluate the cement plants being built near the Los Haitises National Park and in Luperón, Puerto Plata, to make a final decision.

In a luncheon with media directors in the National Palace, Fernandez affirmed that on controversial issues which affect public opinion he’ll seek out the expertise of neutral international organisms to make the corresponding decision

Sosua Bay Casino to host webcam gambling

The Caribbean Casino and Gaming Corporation was in the business news
for the second time this week, having earlier announced that live
betting cameras and software will be installed over table games,
including Texas Hold ‘Em, at its Sosua Bay Grand Casino in the
Dominican Republic within the next two weeks for Internet live betting

In its latest announcement, CCGC advises that it has entered into a six
month online test simulcast broadcast agreement with Kenilworth Systems
Corporation to support its recently signed agreement with Trade
Broadcasting Corp to offer Texas Hold Em Tournaments throughout the
Caribbean Islands.

CCGC plans to relocate its smaller Grand Casino to an adjoining 250
room hotel that will include a disco, four (4) restaurants, three (3)
pools and a vastly expanded casino to accommodate Caribbean Stud Poker
and Texas Hold Em tournaments. Kenilworth will complete the test before
the Grand Casino is relocated.

Kenilworth owns patents filed in the U.S. and other countries for systems and methods for
playing casino table-type games such as roulette, dice and baccarat in
an interactive manner at sites remote from the actual casino table at
which cameras follow the live game that is being played in strictly
regulated casinos. This allows players to wager as if they are in the
actual casino playing at tables rather than virtual or number generated
casino games from studios.

The patented technology includes the use of lottery-type terminals that
accept cash deposits while managing the wagering by using lottery data
systems that can easily identify problematic gamblers and limit or shut
down their compulsive gambling habits and also prevents underage
participation when state operated lotteries become involved.

Herbert Lindo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Kenilworth,
explained: “Simulcasts of remote casino table games to homes, cell
phones, public gathering places such as cafes, hotels, resorts, horse
race tracks and selected restaurants and bars is the direction of the

“Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Switzerland and France have either passed or
are preparing legislation permitting only remote live games from their
own casinos with the same tax benefits, halting virtual wagering and
number generated games along with studio games. The reason we are
developing the software and the required equipment is to market the
live game broadcast technology together with licensing our patents.”

As part of the test agreement, among other considerations, Kenilworth
will pay one half of one percent for a period of ten years, from the
net, net win earnings from an estimated annual $500 billion worldwide
market in the not too distant future (up to an estimated $2.5 billion
annually). Kenilworth’s software and technical personnel will assist
Caribbean to complete the Texas Hold Em tournament broadcast system.

Customs & Immigrations procedures changed to reduce boater ripoffs

The Dominican Republic has taken steps to reduce boater ripoffs by changing rules and giving marinas the job of collecting fees.

This has been the result of a long campaign by marine organizations in the country.

In spite of the difficulties of check-in and moving from one port to another, Dominican Republic has become a popular place for cruising sailors, particularly weather-protected Luperon.

This popular cruising meeting place is a good base from which to visit the interior. Repairs and other yacht services are available here.

Once past the bureaucracy, DR has always been popular –  .. .

Luperon is very protected –  .. .

The resume of the new Decree stated in Layman’s Terms:

1.That any Private Yacht coming to a Private Marina in the Dominican Republic (DR) from a foreign port will not be boarded by all the different governmental officials, but only one Navy representative with one other official can search the vessel if there has been a report of suspicious activity on the vessel.

2.That all other Governmental forms are to be filled out in the marina offices by the Captain of the vessel.

3.Transparency of Payments: All monetary payments are to be made to the marinas directly and will show on the receipt given to the yacht when they leave the particular marina.

Dominican Republic (DR) – Caribbean at its best –  .. .

4.The following fees will be charged by the Dominican Port Authority, Dominican Navy and Immigration:
– Five percent (5%) of the vessel’s dockage before tax charged by Dominican Port Authority.
– Ten (10) USD or equivalent in Dominican Pesos to the Dominican Navy for
a Dispatch Letter only when departing to a foreign port.
– Ten (10) USD for each passenger on the vessel (excluding the crew of the Vessel) paid to Immigration.
– Sixteen (16) USD (or DOP 500) for each crew or passenger that leaves the Dominican Republic or arrives to the country by plane and is
desenrolling or enrolling on a vessel.

5.Vessels traveling in Dominican waters from one marina to another do not pay any fees regarding the Dispatch Letter. The Captain of the vessel must inform
the marina with his name, vessel’s name and the number of passengers on
board of the vessel any time the vessel leaves the marina. The 5% of
the dockage fee in the marinas covers cruising permits up to 90 days.

6.There is going to be a new vessel entrance form that will be filled out with
the vessel, crew and passenger information. This will be given to all
governmental authorities and one copy to the captain of the vessel as
proof of entry and clearance when traveling between marinas in the DR.
This document is still being made by the marinas and needs to be
approved by the Dominican Port Authority.

Ports of entry:
North coast:, Puerto Plata 19°49’N 70°42’W (Ocean World Marina 19°50 N 70°43’53” W), Luperon (Puerto Blanco) 19°55’N 70°56’W.

South coast: Casa de Campo 18°24’N 68°55’W?, Santo Domingo 18°28’N 69°53’W,
Punta Cana 18°32’N 68 °22’W?, Las Salinas 18° 16′ N 71° 19′ W.

There are good standard marinas in Boca Chica, Casa de Campo, Luperon, Puerto
Plata and Punta Cana, with all expected facilites.  Only basic repair facilities are available at Samaná where there is fuel and water on the dock and a good fresh produce market.

Samana seeks “most beautiful bay” status for two locations

A Dominican delegation participated in the 5th World Bay Congress, held in Setubal, Portugal, with the intention of submitting the Samana and El Rincón bays to the club “The most beautiful bays in the world.”

The club, a French organization sponsored by UNESCO, includes thirty bays around the world in twenty different countries. The goal of the event is to preserve and help these special areas in a sustainable way.

Under the slogan United by Oceans, the event was sponsored by Portugal, the ministers of Environment and Tourism from Portugal, the mayor of Setubal and representatives from UNESCO.

The final decision about acceptance will be announced at the next meeting of the club’s board of directors in September 2009 in Santander, Spain. If accepted, the bays will receiv an official diploma as members of the club during the next General Assembly in 2010 in Vietnam with the right to use the logo for authorized organizations and people.


Tourism ministry launches know-your-own-country campaign

Dominicans will be encouraged to get to know their own country via a Tourism Ministry project “Tourism for All” to begin in the next few days and includes massive excursions by families, students and employees of various companies to natural attractions in the north, east and northeastern tourism zones.

Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia, interviewed by newspaper Listin Diario, said the project includes a national ad campaign and logistics so Dominicans can travel on weekends in as many as 80 buses to know and enjoy tourism spots such as Samaná (northeast), Bavaro (east) and Puerto Plata (north).

He said tourists from Russia, Germany, Canada or the United States often know and enjoy the Dominican Republic more than the natives.

Garcia said there’s a need to create areas of penetration in the national parks, with the Environment Ministry’s approval, to add these attractions to the national tourism.

Drunken German diverts inbound flight

A Condor Boeing 767-300 flying from Frankfurt to Puerto Plata with
263 people on board was only ten minutes in flight when the crew turned to Shannon Airport in Ireland, reporting they had 4 people on board needing to go
Police took one intoxicated man, age 47, from Munich into custody, who has been charged with being intoxicated on board an aircraft.
He pleaded guilty in a court hearing, was fined 100 Euros and was released.
In order to land the plane so early after takeoff, the crew dumped 8 tonnes of fuel.
The airplane resumed the flight after about 100 minutes on the ground and reached Puerto Plata with a delay of 3.5 hours.

From Aviation Herald by Simon Hradecky May 16th 2009 11:08Z

$75M advertising barter deal proposed to hotels

A program for the exchange of advertising services for hotels and companies of the Dominican Republic and Caribbean media in United States, Canada, Europe and international airports around the world, was presented by the Center for Information and Communication (CICOM) and Canadian-based The Media Group (TMG).

TMG and CICOM announced a strategic alliance with an advertising offer to make $75 million (USD) available in exchange for businesses based in the Caribbean, including the main electronic media (TV, radio), newspapers, magazines, online, mobile phones and the like, and a further $40 million on advertising billboards in 207 global markets.

“Our facilities are aimed at advertising hotels, recreational facilities, real estate, restaurants, sports facilities (golf), marinas, hotels, tourism associations, and governments of the countries where these facilities are located,” asserted Cesar Heal, CICOM senior manager, responsible for the project.

Manuel Canales of TMG noted that the companies concerned have access to the inventory of media and other facilities under the program and choose those that are of interest to place advertising.

“Our specialty,” Canales said, “is to provide an alternative to significant cash disbursements, which is to trade hotel-rooms for appropriate promotion to customer needs. After receiving the data from the target market details of the customer, our company develops a marketing and media plan based on demographic and economic provision to be invested by the company concerned.”

This exchange program allows hotels to trade part of its inventory of unsold rooms for advertising in the markets of their interest without making the huge outlays of money required by traditional advertising. Governments may also participate by making arrangements with hotels to provide a program and include some forms of institutional advertising.

For instance, the hotels in Puerto Plata and Samaná could contribute $500 thousand dollars in hotel-rooms, and the government can contribute a similar cash sum for an advertising program in the United States or Canada for Puerto Plata and Samaná.

“In response to the needs of Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, CICOM wanted to stay at the forefront in supporting the development of tourism as a strategic alliance with a company to market advertising exchange room, which is a tool that facilitates and lowers investment promotion,” said Manuel Cedeño Quiteria, president of CICOM.

Yale says DR is world’s 33rd greenest country

Santo Domingo. – A recent Yale University study ranked Dominican Republic 33rd among the greenest countries, Environment minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal said Thursday.

“To be among the world’s top 35 greenest countries is a recognition of the efforts by nongovernment and government organizations, academies and the Dominican people to benefit the environment and natural resources” Fernandez said.

He recognized however that it also represents “a challenge because from now on it’s necessary to improve that position.”

Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI) evaluated carbon and sulphur emissions, water purity and conservation practices.

Fernandez, taking part in the closing of the 8th technical meeting of the Biological Corridor of the Caribbean, said the project seeks to integrate Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica, among others islands in a common effort to draft joint policies to defend the biodiversity, protect nature and develop the natural resources’ common potentialities.

In the meetings during three days in the Santo Domingo Technological Institute  (INTEC), the technical delegations proposed a Joint Operation Plan among the corridor’s current members.