DR1 Travel News - 22 October 2019



Puerto Plata tourism entrepreneur, Ludwig Alfred Meister dies
Luigi Di Ciaccio named director for Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando
More than a million cruise ship passengers
Frank Comito: Travel talk at AmCham
FBI: Tourists in DR died of natural causes

Puerto Plata tourism entrepreneur, Ludwig Alfred Meister dies
85-year old Alfred Meister, the entrepreneur who brought Ocean World Adventure Park & Marina to Puerto Plata, passed away on 8 October 2019 in Puerto Plata. He is known for his investments in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic, he developed the Ocean World Adventure Park & Marina together with his son, Stefan Meister since 2000.

A mass was held in his honor on Saturday, 19 October 2019 at the Puerto Plata Cathedral.

Born in Germany, Meister was the quintessential entrepreneur moving from operating a family store, to a wholesale center in Germany, and then tourism ventures in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. His love affair with the Caribbean began after vacationing in Nassau, Bahamas in 1973, and years after discovered the north coast of the Dominican Republic.

In February 2018, the Chamber of Deputies recognized the visionary businessman for his contributions to tourism in Puerto Plata.


Luigi Di Ciaccio named director for Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando
Hodelpa Hotels has appointed Luigi Di Ciaccio the new director of three of the hotel chain’s properties in the Colonial City. These are Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando, Hotel Novus Plaza Hodelpa on Calle El Conde and the Centro de Eventos Hodelpa Casa Real Centro (former Hotel Francés) on Calle Mercedes.

Di Ciaccio invites to visit the newly renovated public spaces at the Nicolás de Ovando and to enjoy its new lunchtime menu.

Previous to his new appointment, Di Ciaccio was the general manager of the Puerto Bahía Hotel in Samaná. He has also managed the Casa Colonial Beach & Spa in Puerto Plata.

He had been director-general for Hotel Partner & LHC Consulting. Di Ciaccio is a graduate of the École Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, with studies at Cornell University. He is a third-generation hotelier.

More than a million cruise ship passengers
The Dominican Republic is participating in the 26th Annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Conference from 21-25 October at the San Juan, Puerto Rico convention center.

Orfila Salazar, in charge of the cruise ship department at the Ministry of Tourism (Mitur), said that the country received more than a million cruise ship tourists from January to September 2019. Mitur statistics indicate that from January to September 2019, cruise ship stops have numbered 347 at Dominican ports for 785,999 passengers and 267,925 crew member arrivals, for an overall 1,053,924 visitors through September 2019. 108,131 more passengers came compared to the cruise totals for January-September 2018. In all of 2018, cruise ship arrivals to the country were 1,357,969 visitors.

Puerto Plata is the leading cruise ship destination (Amber Cove port), with 700,216 arrivals. Next is Casa de Campo La Romana Port with 458,465.


Frank Comito: Travel talk at AmCham
The American Chamber of Commerce is inviting to the monthly luncheon on Wednesday, 23 October 2019 at 12:30pm at the Hotel Embajador. The guest speaker is Frank Comito, CEO and director-general of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).

Paola Rainieri, president of the National Hotel & Tourism Association (Asonahores), made the announcement. She said the talk will be on perspectives on tourism trends that can affect the global economy, the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic. She said tourism represents 7.6% of GDP in the Dominican Republic. In 2018, 6.5 million tourists visited, of which 40% or 2.3 million were from the United States.

FBI: tourists in DR died of natural causes
On the heel of a wave of cancellations after weeks of widespread US press speculation on tainted beverages in the Dominican Republic in May, June and July 2019, a comprehensive FBI toxicology report just released denies there was factual evidence to the negative media stories. The findings by the FBI confirm the report Dominican forensic authorities had given. That the death of three at the same hotel was due to complications of already existing physical conditions.

The deaths spiraled into a media campaign that led to major cancellations of travel to the country amid speculations of intoxication due to fumigation at the hotel or toxic drinks. The FBI reportedly carried out comprehensive studies, with over 150 tests, and concluded the tourists died for natural causes.

The results were shared with the relatives of the deceased and end the speculation regarding the deaths of 63-year old Nathaniel Edward Holmes and 49-year old Cynthia Ann Day that died together when on holiday in the Dominican Republic.

The Attorney General of the Dominican Republic had reported that Edward Holmes had died due to petechial hemorrhages in pleural surface, generalized cerebral and visceral hemorrhages, as well as pulmonary edema, cardiomegaly at 600gr, macroscopic hepatic cirrhosis, hemorrhagic gastritis and pancreatic hemorrhage.

While his wife, Cynthia Ann Day presented cerebral edema, petechial hemorrhages, brain, heart and pulmonary edema, cardiomegaly at 400gr, in addition to chronic passive hepatic congestion, hemorrhagic gastritis, pancreatic hemorrhage, and hepatomegaly at 1300grs.

The intense media campaign that resulted from the mysterious deaths caused cancellations and price discounting that affected Dominican hotels. Dominican hotels turned the negative into a positive and enhanced security measures and medical access and emergency information in each hotel room.

Paola Rainieri, president of the National Hotel & Tourism Association, says that while the FBI studies were extensive, the full results have not known locally. She said that all that is known is what has appeared on the matter in the US press.

Likewise, the Attorney General Office had reportedly received the FBI report on 16 September 2019 but did not make this public, either. The Attorney General had announced a press conference for 30 September, but later postponed this citing that the details received were not complete.