Major regional medical conventions, hemispheric financial conferences, and international professional gatherings have been held in the Dominican Republic for years.
But increasingly — thanks to the availability of meeting rooms on all of its coasts, together with the country’s modern telecommunications network, frequent airline connections, and unmatched tourist attractions — the Dominican Republic is being recognized as the location of choice for businesses, organizations and professional groups that want to complement the usefulness of their meetings and conferences with pleasure.
Santo Domingo is considered a prime city for meetings. In recent years, heads of state from Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Central America and the Caribbean visited for multiple summits.
Visitors to Santo Domingo today can benefit from renovations carried out at major hotels in preparation for the heads of state. But it isn’t necessary to be a head of state to appreciate the throbbing beat of the city’s night life, or the pulsing tempo of its day-time shopping, or its gastronomic diversity, or the access to incomparable land- and water-sports, or the gaming attractions and entertainment, or the never-ending tropical sunshine.
There’s no question that Santo Domingo is well worth visiting. The extraordinary combination of a sophisticated, modern metropolis with a historically significant city-scape, fine dining and busy night life, as well as many city parks, and a beautiful tropical seaside location, with proximity to world-class beaches, make it the region’s first choice for meetings.
The Dominican capital can accommodate large groups of up to 1,500 persons in its deluxe hotel ballrooms. Several hotels are located close to each other, allowing for multiple functions at different hotels. Such is the case as with the hotels that are grouped along the sea-fronting Malecon.
The city of Santo Domingo boasts, in addition to smaller meeting rooms in city hotels, several large air-conditioned auditoriums that can be booked for special events planned as part of a major meeting. Among these auditoriums are those of the National Theater (1,500 persons), the Casa San Pablo (1,207 persons), the Centro de Convenciones y Exposiciones (875 persons), the Central Bank (723 persons), or the smaller Museum of History & Geography (500 persons) and Ministry of Foreign Relations School of Diplomacy (250 persons). For those seeking large open air areas, there's the Plaza de España in the Colonial City, facing the Columbus Alcazar, from where the conquest of the New World was planned. Hotel convention staff can assist you in booking these facilities.
Meetings are better in the Dominican Republic. Ample availability of multilingual translation staff, state of the art audiovisual support, trained logistics personnel and excellent ground transport services are some of the reasons for hosting meetings in this cosmopolitan Caribbean nation. Furthermore, organizing impressive plenary sessions, well-integrated small groups, comfortable seminars, shirtsleeve workshops and efficient demonstrations is all part of the day's work for experienced Dominican planners.
Hotel banquet and sales staff will assist meeting planners and when necessary recommend outside personnel and contractors. It's the teamwork and close attention to the details that distinguishes them. They're also experts on how to orchestrate the perfect balance of formal meetings with incentive activities. They'll make efficient use of your group's time by interweaving substantive business meetings with entertaining “theme nights,” intriguing excursions, visits to cultural attractions and, of course, lots of simple leisure-time fun.
Nor will the needs of spouses be overlooked. Trips to historic sites, or natural attractions, or championship golf courses, or world-class shopping centers, or magnificent beaches, can be easily integrated with the formalities.
Boca Chica, Juan Dolio and La Romana
Near Santo Domingo, along the southeastern coastline, from Boca Chica, through Juan Dolio on to La Romana, a wide range of assembly rooms are available capable of hosting most meetings. The larger facilities in the region are at the Oasis Hamaca Beach Resort, which is rapidly becoming a prime meeting center. Located about 15 minutes from the Las Americas International Airport, the nation's principal port of entry, the Hamaca has capacity to host meetings for up to 1,200 persons theater-style. Also there is room for 500 in meetings at the Coral Costa Caribe in Juan Dolio.
Further East, shortly after the city of La Romana, the world-renown five star Casa de Campo Resort offers its modern Convention Center, a technologically well-equipped facility with several break-up rooms and a hall able to seat 530 persons theater-style, as well as the use of its 5,000-person Altos de Chavón amphitheater, all in a picturesque holiday setting combining recreation, entertainment, sports, fine dining and leisure. In the Bayahibe area, Oasis Canoa and Iberostar Hacienda have capacity for around 300 persons theater-style.
Santiago and Puerto Plata
Santiago and Puerto Plata, to the North, should not be overlooked when meeting venues are under discussion. They offer functional alternatives to the hectic capital.
Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second city, is every bit as lovely as the capital in its verdant heartland setting, but quieter. A city where education enjoys the highest civic priority, Santiago’s prestigious higher education institutions, such as the Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, rent out their meeting rooms and auditorium. In addition, the Gran Teatro Cibao (1,800 persons) is located in Santiago.
Beside the blue Atlantic in beautiful Puerto Plata, popular Playa Dorada offers superb accommodations at numerous adjacent resorts. An abundance of restaurants, clubs, and night spots, great golfing and water-sports, superb beaches and experienced support staff make this area a desirable choice for mid-size groups whose members like to unite professional activism with a family vacation. The Gran Oasis Marien has facilities for 550, but most other Playa Dorada hotels can accommodate groups of 150 to 300.
Punta Cana, Bávaro and Macao
Along the eastern coastline, most hotels can accommodate small and mid-sized meetings for those seeking postcard perfect beach scenery. Hotels that can host meetings of 300-2,600 persons theater-style. Most hotels can accommodate smaller meetings. The Barcelo Convention Center, is the largest facility for meetings in the area.
Whatever Dominican destination your group chooses for its get-together, getting there is easy thanks to convenient international air transportation, complemented by a superb network of first class highways, unmatched by any Caribbean nation. Holding meetings in the Dominican Republic can honestly be described — as Dominicans love to describe things — as yet another case of “no problema.”
Best of all, if you’re an American, Uncle Sam will help to pay for your unforgettable visit to the Dominican Republic. Under the terms of the Tax Information Exchange Agreement, business meetings in the Dominican Republic are tax deductible for US citizens.