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 Travel News

DR is Family Destination of the Year
    The New York Times has chosen the Dominican Republic as its Family Destination of the Year. In its Sunday 22 January 2006 edition, the influential daily published a story by Caren Osten Gerszberg where she pointed out that the country is becoming increasingly better known for its “growing number of family-centered resorts with activities ranging from windsurfing to world-class golf, to snorkeling to teenage-only lounges.”

Damajagua made easier
   A new visitors’ center enhances the Damajagua adventure tourism site experience, three kilometers south of Imbert, in Puerto Plata province. A Natural Monument, Damajagua features 27 levels of natural pools and waterfalls. More than 50,000 tourists visited Damajagua in 2006. Visitors hike for 20 minutes through lush forests to the top of the hill and then climb and swim down each level of waterfalls and through channels carved out by the river. There is also the option to climb up to the 7th, 12th or 27th waterfall and then return the same way by jumping, sliding and swimming.

New hotels in 2006
   Riu Palace Punta Cana (612 suites), Majestic Colonial Punta Cana (659 rooms), Sivory (55 suites) and Paradisus Palma Real (554 suites) are among the new hotels that opened in the first quarter of 2006. In Puerto Plata, renovations have given brand new looks to the 190-room Victoria Resort Golf & Beach, the First Choice Holiday Village Golden Beach (former Jack Tar Village), and the 244-room Blue Bay Getaway Villas Doradas by Hotetur (former Villas Doradas). In Samana, among the new hotels opening are Gran Bahía Príncipe Cayo Levantado (195 rooms), Gran Bahía Principe Cayacoa (295 rooms), Gran Bahía Príncipe Samaná (103 rooms) and Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo (396 rooms).

Aviation news
   The Samaná International Airport (AZS) opened in November, serving northeastern travel destinations in the Dominican Republic (Río San Juan, Playa Grande, Cabrera and Samaná). First airlines to serve the airport are Condor (Frankfurt) and LTU (Dusseldorf) from Germany, Neos will fly from (Milan) Italy and Air Transat (Montreal, Toronto,
Vancouver) and Sky Service from several cities in Canada, prior to a stopover in Puerto Plata. More flights will be added continuously. Delta Airlines has added Atlanta connections to Santo Domingo, as well as its New York flights to Santo Domingo, Santiago, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata.

Big name performers in the DR
    The Hard Rock Café opened in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo and has kicked off its first opening months with concerts by Blondie, The Producers, The Village People, Men at Work, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Altos de Chavon continues to attract world-class performers. In 2006, Sting and his Broken Music Tour filled the 5,000-seater La Romana amphitheater.

25 Years of Teeth of the Dog
   La Romana’s Casa de Campo celebrated the 25th Casa de Campo Open Championship, marking the silver anniversary of the golf course that has put the Dominican Republic at the forefront for golfers worldwide since 1971.

Jack Nicklaus’s Caribbean first
   Jack Nicklaus was in Punta Cana for the 8 November 2006 opening of his first signature course in the Caribbean, the Punta Espada at Cap Cana. Cap Cana is a luxury real estate development. The back nine are located along a dramatic coastline where golfers can look out over the blue expanse of the ocean in search of inspiration to help them achieve their best level of play.

Palma Real Shopping Center
   Punta Cana has a new shopping experience. Opening for the winter 2006-7 season, the centrally located Palma Real Shopping Center is the meeting point for the Bavaro- Punta Cana tourism area. The new mall’s distinguishing feature is its blue-tiled roof and it will be housing famousname stores.

Beach expansions for Puerto Plata
   The government has spent upwards of US$7 million to expand Long Beach in Puerto Plata, giving city visitors and residents the opportunity of combining their time with beach-going. The adjacent resort and beach areas, Costa Dorada, Playa Dorada and Cabarete on the north coast, a 14km-stretch of sand, surf and sun, have also benefited from the major beach renovation project.
Marina, casino and baby dolphin at Ocean World
   The Beach Boys came for the December 2006 opening concert at the Ocean World Adventure Park, Marina & Casino in Cofresí. The 100-slip marina is the first fullservice marina on the north coast. The Ocean World Casino features Las Vegas-type revue shows. Ocean World combines fine dining, casino, a wildlife adventure park (dolphins, sea lions, sharks, tigers and birds) and a marina. A baby dolphin was born to mother “Serena” on 21 August 2006 at Ocean World Adventure Park in Puerto Plata. This is the first recorded and confirmed successful (live) baby dolphin born in captivity in the DR.

Santo Domingo port renovated
   Santo Domingo port’s Don Diego Terminal has been renovated and enhanced for the arrival of some 40 cruise ships, starting winter 2006. The Sans Souci Port project will include a marina, shopping area and real estate developments along the east and west banks of the Ozama River once completed.

Luis López is new Asonahores president
   Civil engineering graduate of PUCMM and president of Amhsa Marina Hotels & Resorts, Luis López is the new president of the National Hotel & Restaurant Association (2006-2008). In his first speech, Lopez outlined the vision for tourism in the DR that integrates culture, the environment and the community as key elements for sustainable tourism development. See http://www.dr1. com/travelnews/archive/2006/lopez.shtml

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