New cruise port to be built in the north
American no longer accepting cash for Punta Cana International flights
Spirit announces EWR-SDQ daily flight starting November
Hotel & Tourism Association trade show set for Punta Cana Mall

New cruise port to be built in the north
Mexico’s ITM Group has announced plans to build a cruise ship port on the site of the Puerto Plata city cargo port, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. This would be the second terminal, and strengthens the positioning of Puerto Plata, as one of the leading cruise passenger destinations in the Caribbean.

The company’s chief marketing officer Robert Shamosh has announced that Mexico's ITM Group will be investing US$80m into the first stage of Taino Bay's development, according to a report in Seatrade website. ITM Group operates the Puerto Costa Maya in Mexico.

Reportedly, the company won the tender competing with 13 companies from around the world. The local authorities have yet to officially announce the winner of the tender for the construction of the port. ITM Group’s Shamosh said President Danilo Medina would announce the project on 30 July 2018 and construction was set to begin in 60 days.

Plans are for the first ships to arrive as early as winter 2019, with the entire project to be ready by summer 2020. A million passengers are projected during the 2020/21 season.

“This is a major project for the Dominican Republic,” Shamosh told Seatrade. “Things are aligned. The cruise lines are coming. This location is very strategic for Eastern Caribbean itineraries of four, five and seven days. As reported, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages have already expressed interest in the project.

“The demand is there. The [cruise] infrastructure in the US keeps expanding and growing, and new destinations are needed,” Shamosh told Seatrade.

The country’s prime cruise ship facility, Amber Cove, a Carnival Cruise venture, is already operating in Puerto Plata city, in Maimon, about 12 kilometers from the new port’s site. Amber Cove offered shopping facilities on site, and passengers were encouraged to take local tours and taxi rides to see the local attractions.

The Taino Bay port will accommodate the largest cruise ships in the world with passengers disembarking right into the city of Puerto Plata, next to several of its main attractions. The first pier will be able to handle two cruise ships per day.

The first port, the successful Amber Cove was developed by Carnival Corporation and opened just under three years ago is located about a 15-minute drive from Puerto Plata city with limited facilities for passengers that were taken on tours to sites on the north coast. Amber Cove primarily has catered to cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line.

The new Taino Bay instead includes facilities on site to keep the tourists in the port facility, with attractions similar to popular experiences located in the Puerto Plata area. The Taino Bay port masterplan includes a themed village based on the culture of the Taino people (Taino Village), a monkey jungle with everything from a botanical garden to capuchin moneys. Another Buccaneers Village will offer entertainment, shopping, bars and restaurants. And Fort Cibao will house the water park for swimming with stingrays and cat sharks or enjoying an afternoon the lazy river. The water park will also have waterslides. Zip lines will encircle the area.

American no longer accepting cash for Punta Cana International flights
American Airlines announced that as of 1 August 2018 it will no longer accept cash payments at Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). Only credit cards and debit cards will be accepted for the purchase of airline tickets or for the paying of luggage fees. This will contribute to expedite check in and is a global measure, says Oliver Bojos, general director for American Airlines in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, St. Marteen and Bermuda.

Punta Cana International is one of 50 airports around the world where cash transactions are no longer accepted. Others are Miami International, JFK International in New York, the Curacao International Airpot, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

American offers flights from Punta Cana to Charlotte (CLT), Miami (MIA), Nueva York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), Boston (BOS), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Chicago (ORD).

Spirit announces EWR-SDQ daily flight starting November
Spirit Airlines has announced a daily year-round flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey to Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo. The daily non-stop flights by the low cost carrier would start Thursday, 8 November 2018, in time for the Christmas high season traffic. Spirit has also introduced other new routes to destinations in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Cap-Haitien, Haiti and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

The expansion announcement will mark the first direct international service from Newark for Spirit and will serve as a direct connection for friends and relatives living in both the US Tri-State area and the Dominican Republic.

The airline says the expansion announcement marks the first direct international service from Newark for Spirit and will serve as a direct connection for friends and relatives living in both the Tri-State area and the Dominican Republic.

Mark Kopczak, Spirit Airlines’ vice president of network planning says: “Both Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are known for their hospitality and beauty and are incredible options for winter vacations or family reunions. Spirit continues to prove itself as a go-to airline for quality affordable service to the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Hotel & Tourism Association trade show set for Punta Cana Mall
The new Blue Mall Punta Cana will be hosting the 32nd Asonahores Trade Show from 19 to 21 September 2018.

This is the leading annual hotel and tourism exhibition with the participation of vendors interested in selling to the industry. The trade show is an important vehicle for creating linkages between goods and services suppliers and the hotel industry.

Joel Santos, president of Asonahores, made the announcement during a cocktail at the JW Marriott Hotel. He forecast the success of the event that now will have space for 335 stands, up 40% from previous years.

Andrés Marranzini, executive vice president, said stands are available from US$800 for Asonahores members. He said the fair will be open to the general public from 10am to 7pm. Special rates are available for exhibitors to stay at the nearby resorts Dreams Palm Beach, Catalonia Bávaro and Catalonia Royal Bávaro.

Marranzini estimated visitors at around 2,000 per day. The event includes workshops, talks, press conference, social activities.