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April 26, 2016
  • Runners Adventures: Nighttime ziplining
  • What's new in tourism?
  • Paradisus celebrates 25 years, Melia 60 years
  • Puerto Plata enjoys riding a wave in tourism
Runners Adventures: Nighttime ziplining
The National Hotel & Tourism Association has honored Carlos Medrano, president of Runners Adventures to mark the 20th anniversary of the start of his innovative excursions to tourists around the country, as the company that offers the largest number of excursions nationwide. The company has 21 outdoor adventure excursions and pioneered the safari truck adventures in Punta Cana 20 years ago, expanding the concept to Bayahibe, Puerto Plata and Samana.
The company is a member of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for its Bavaro Runners safari-style excursions. The company organizes tours in Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, La Romana, and Samana. It is also the only company to offer nighttime zip line adventures for incentive travel.
The company also operates the Anamuya Ziplines, two miles long, in the Punta Cana area. Anamuya and the Samana Zip Line near Salto El Limon both operate under the supervision of the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT).
Runners Adventures also organize Santo Domingo City Tours, Hispaniola Explorer VIP to visit bohemian artists, and Monkeyland.
What's new in tourism?
Speaking at the Dominican Annual Travel Eschange (DATE) last week, National Hotel & Tourism Association (Asonahores) president Simon Suarez reported that nationwide initiatives have continued to make a good tourism product even better.
At a press conference on 19 April 2016, he reported that 4,575 hotel rooms are under construction nationwide, while 11,895 of the more than 60,000 hotel rooms in the country are undergoing renovation and another 2,551 are being expanded.
Suarez highlighted renovations of 3,841 hotel rooms on the north coast and the completion of the remodeling of the Playa Grande golf course in Cabrera. He announced the construction of the Hampton Inn and the total renovation of the Hotel Embajador plus the opening of the Jalao and Buche de Perico themed Dominican restaurants in Santo Domingo. He also mentioned the Casa Bonita luxury ecolodge in Barahona, which is adding 16 suites. In Samana there are the new facilities at the Viva Wyndham.
In Santiago, the Hodelpa chain's Garden Court Hotel is working closely with the largest regional private hospital, HOMS to provide a wellness center for convalescent patients, representing a boost for medical tourism that is already strong in Santiago.
He mentioned complementary activities such as the new Cirque de Soleil facilities in Club Med, the Equestrian Club in Cap Cana, and new restaurants and nightclubs in Punta Cana, plus advances made for the start of pre-clearance (doing US Customs in Punta Cana) for May 2017.
Paradisus celebrates 25 years, Melia 60 years
The Dominican Republic's Melia was the first Spanish hotel chain in the Americas. Just shortly before they opened their first international hotel in Bali, Indonesia, the Melia in Punta Cana became their second international hotel.
At the DATE travel meeting held in Punta Cana last week, the hotel chain's managing director Conrad Bergwerf reminded the audience that the company arrived 25 years ago and installed the first Paradisus brand hotel in Punta Cana. The chain now operates five Paradisus hotels worldwide.
He said the company is always renovating to adapt to new market trends. He said the strongest current trends are for multi-generational travel.
Paradisus operates four hotels in Punta Cana: Paradisus Palma Real, Paradisus Punta Cana, The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real and The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana. Also the Melia Caribe Tropical and The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical.
Puerto Plata enjoys riding a wave in tourism
Speaking at DATE, National Hotel & Tourism Association (Asonahores) president Simon Suarez said that he was especially pleased with Puerto Plata on the north coast, where he said 3,841 hotel rooms have been renovated from 2015-2016. “Puerto Plata is again a major player in Dominican tourism,” he highlighted.
Hotel spokespeople from Puerto Plata say that the 2015-2016 winter season has been the best in the past seven years, with hotel occupancy rates of 90%.
Maximo Iglesias, speaking for the private sector in Puerto Plata, announced that air travel was up 11.6% in 2015. He was optimistic that the success of the Amber Cove Port in Puerto Plata would soon result in arrival of flights with tourists for departure on the cruise ships, making Puerto Plata a popular homeport.
He highlighted that the new developments are the result of the ongoing cooperation between the private and public sectors. He highlighted new air connections, including to Poland and Russia, and to the US cities of Boston and Charlotte.
Speaking for the Ministry of Tourism, Lorenzo Sancassani highlighted the positive effects of maritime tourism. He said that since the opening of the Amber Cove Port Center on 6 October 2015 in Maimon, Puerto Plata, through April 2016, 56 cruise ships with 224,683 passengers had arrived.
He announced that the amphitheater next to the Fortaleza San Felipe would be ready for inauguration in May 2016. He said that this year, a new arts and crafts center would be opening in Imbert, where a wide variety of crafts made from rock and petrified wood would be sold, close to where they are made.
He announced the reorganization of the Luperon port area, to improve the natural harbor for the hundreds of sailboats that use it every year.
He confirmed that Royal Caribbean has been exploring the possibility of installing a port for ships at the Port of Puerto Plata. He expressed optimism that within two years, the country would be considered a homeport for cruise ships.
Sancassani highlighted that long months of visiting neighborhoods, schools, and universities to raise awareness of the importance of doing well with the cruise ship passengers were behind the success of the cruise ship programs. He said that if the tourists were pleased with their visit, 30% were likely to return with more time.

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