Is Sosua dying?

newyorksharkbar

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I have been living in the Dominican Republic for over two years and more than a year of that has been spent in Sosua. That by no means makes me an expert but my observations in Sosua lead me to believe that Sosua(outside of the all-inclusives) is in big trouble. When I got here the town had its ups and downs but the uptime was very good. Many people were walking the streets and there were people on the beach who did not have a sufficient amount of chairs for all the people that wanted to sit in their section. I have seen a dramatic change. I have been told by the few people I have seen lately who fly in to Puerto Plata that all the planes are packed. I saw for myself when I picked my mother up at the airport loads and loads of people getting off the planes. What I have not seen is these people frequenting establishments outside of the all-inclusives.
I don't see or hear anything that leads me to believe that things are going to get better anytime soon. I hope I am wrong but my question to the people on DR1 is; Is Sosua dying?
 

Tor

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The lasts suggestions of closing the beach at 6 PM and the Discos and bars in town at 2AM sure won't help much, thats for sure.
 

amy2761

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Tor said:
The lasts suggestions of closing the beach at 6 PM and the Discos and bars in town at 2AM sure won't help much, thats for sure.
My understanding is that the 2am thing is country-wide for the bars, discos ect ... is this correct? And the beach thing ..... well, those of you who know the guys that run the shark bar know it's just ridiculous.

As to J's question ... I've been in Sosua for about a year and Cabarete before that for almost 2 years, the concensus of people who have been in Sosua for over 10 years (people who I know at least) say that the town has had it's ups and it's downs and this is one of it's downs. I know, it leaves a lot open to interpretation but that's what the DR's all about right?

My feeling is that there's serious unbalance on the N Coast. If you look at the tourist trade, outside the AIs, it's almost non-existent compared to years past. Business owners are talking about 40% turnover compared to last year, sometimes less. But then again, look at the real estate market which is booming along the Cabarete/Sosua beachfronts. I'm as yet undecided which way the pendulum (sp?) will swing ....

Stay well,
Amy
 

paddy

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Oct 4, 2003
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Tor said:
The lasts suggestions of closing the beach at 6 PM and the Discos and bars in town at 2AM sure won't help much, thats for sure.
they're closing the stalls on the beach at 6pm? including my favorite shark bar.
 

Tor

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Jan 1, 2002
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Re Paddy
Thats a suggestion, as far as I know, strongly supported (and maybe paid for) by bar owners in town.
What Amy means by this statement

"And the beach thing ..... well, those of you who know the guys that run the shark bar know it's just ridiculous. "

I don't know.
 
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Robert

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newyorksharkbar said:
I don't see or hear anything that leads me to believe that things are going to get better anytime soon. I hope I am wrong but my question to the people on DR1 is; Is Sosua dying?
Welcome to the world of the cheap AI tourist. They are cheap, very cheap! Don't blame them, blame the people that bring them here and the lack of focus and direction by consecutive governments and tourism organizations here. This is still a tour operator driven market and it's a market that is dying. Tourism is not sustainable here under the current model.

Unfortunately the only people that are doing ok are the resorts that have the resources to break out of the above mold. They cater more to an independent market and offer an upscale product.

Trust me, I could write pages about this problem and Dolores could write twice as many as me.

Until the people in "power" wake up and start to coordinate themselves, then tourist dollar yield will continue to fall. Yeah, the numbers may go up, but what about the yield or profit per tourist?
 

amy2761

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Tor said:
Re Paddy
Thats a suggestion, as far as I know, strongly supported (and maybe paid for) by bar owners in town.
What Amy means by the ridiculous statement I don't know.
Go to the bar and see .... hang around for a while after dark.

Stay well,
Amy
 
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Tor

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amy2761 said:
Go to the bar and see .... hang around for a while after dark.

Stay well,
Amy
I'm passing by there after dark several times a week, what's your point ? Will they still be open even if it's forbidden ? Or is it that they usually are closed at that time anyway ?
 

amy2761

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Tor said:
I'm passing by there after dark several times a week, what's your point ? Will they still be open even if it's forbidden ? Or is it that they usually are closed at that time anyway ?
Guess you're missing it .... my point is that if they want to be open they will.

Stay well,
Amy
 

NALs

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Jan 20, 2003
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Robert said:
Welcome to the world of the cheap AI tourist. They are cheap, very cheap! Don't blame them, blame the people that bring them here and the lack of focus and direction by consecutive governments and tourism organizations here. This is still a tour operator driven market and it's a market that is dying. Tourism is not sustainable here under the current model.

Unfortunately the only people that are doing ok are the resorts that have the resources to break out of the above mold. They cater more to an independent market and offer an upscale product.

Trust me, I could write pages about this problem and Dolores could write twice as many as me.

Until the people in "power" wake up and start to coordinate themselves, then tourist dollar yield will continue to fall. Yeah, the numbers may go up, but what about the yield or profit per tourist?
There are signs that we are moving towards a more up scale market.

The more up scale we become, the less and less the AI concept will be adhere to, because wealthier people don't like to be tied to any single location.

The best model is having a decent flow of AI crowds and a constant flow of upscale tourists simultaneously.

For the time being, and I assume you know this very well, Punta Cana is at the forefront of up scale tourism in this country, with La Romana coming in second (thanks to Casa de Campo), and Puerto Plata is sort of dipping its toes into this market, but not full force yet.

However, I will tell you one thing, up scale tourist also require heavy investment in beautification projects, enforcements of most laws, architectural controls to ensure the highest architectural quality, and a host of other things that are not being done by the government, except in secluded private properties such as Casa de Campo or Cap Cana among others.

Let's see how Cap Cana evolves and how much of an impact it will have on up scale tourists opinion on vacationing in this country.

So far, the impact has been good, and this is considering that Cap Cana is not officially open yet, officially meaning the first hotel and the marina being open.

The Starwoods Hotels and Resorts company is now investing in upscale tourism and real estate development in the Punta Cana region, the Puntacana Group is expanding and fuctioning very well from what I can tell, and Casa de Campo is not doing bad either.

The building of Novo Mundo (believe me, I know we don't quite click on this, so let's not debate this), but this project has a possibility of being very successful, in part because it will include upscale housing, upscale hotels, upscale tourist, cultural, and shopping venues, and two marinas, not to mention an upkeep on the malecon and the creation of a new more pedestrian friendly malecon.

The presence of upscale tourists works well for Santo Domingo because we already have the businesses and venues that caters to them, but we are simply making better ways of accomodating them in whatever fashion they wish to be accomodated from. This certainly is good for businesses in this city, particularly those closer to the malecon and colonial sector.

The fact that upscale tourist will be able to use yachts to bring themselves to this destination, own nice dwellings or rent a nice room in a nice hotel, and attend a nice venues for entertainment, shopping, and the sort will in fact give a good name to the country, in the same manner Cap Cana and Casa de Campo are doing. The exception is that Novo Mundo will give the world an upscale urban tourism model, whereas Cap Cana and Casa are more countryside upscale tourism models.

The renovations that were taken on the colonial zone have help in making that area ready for upscale tourists, the beautification of Avenida Duarte (which we can all agree is much needed) and the creation of a Chinatown, in addition to all the other venues present in the metropolis and the creation of the Sans Souci project on the eastern part of the city has a high chance of working well.

We all know that upscale tourist spend more than lower tourists, and certainly the worst of all are the AI ship'em in and out crowds!

So, things appear to be changing, but as with everything, lets wait and see.

-NAL
 
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Robert

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Nal0whs said:
We all know that upscale tourist spend more than lower tourists, and certainly the worst of all are the AI ship'em in and out crowds!

So, things appear to be changing, but as with everything, lets wait and see.

-NAL
This is true, changes are SLOWLY happening, but it also goes much deeper than attracting high end tourists. It's also about involving the community and making sure money flows back and not just in the form of low end wages. The community needs to be part of tourism in the DR, right now they are for the most part excluded. The argument that high end tourism creates a trickle down effect is just not true, especially the way tourism is currently run and developed in the DR.

Unfortunately developments like Casa de Campo, Cap Cana etc do very little to integrate into the local community. They still build walls to keep people out and the tourists in.

The powers that be need to embrace and work in conjunction with the community when planning their developments. Right now, only a few developers take this approach and understand how important working with the local community is, and how it can be a win, win situation.

As I said, under the current road map or is that goat track, tourism is not sustainable in the DR. The focus is short term, with very little community focus, lots of skewed agendas and a very individualistic approach to development and destination marketing.
 

Malibook

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Jan 23, 2002
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I wouldn't say dying but it is not just Sosua that is hurting.
How do all of those shops side by side selling the same stuff stay in business?
It is not just the DR.
I think fuel prices have taken away a lot of trips from several people and cut back on the spending of many others.

Robert is right that many people are very cheap.
I don't make it a point to look but I did not see anybody on my bus to the hotel tip the kid who loaded and unloaded our luggage.
Makes me want to give him more.
I didn't see anyone tip anybody the whole week on the resort either, not that I was there a lot but still.
They say all gratuities included but even very modest tips add up and are greatly helpful and appreciated.
 

Eddy

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Jan 1, 2002
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newyorksharkbar said:
I have been living in the Dominican Republic for over two years and more than a year of that has been spent in Sosua. That by no means makes me an expert but my observations in Sosua lead me to believe that Sosua(outside of the all-inclusives) is in big trouble. When I got here the town had its ups and downs but the uptime was very good. Many people were walking the streets and there were people on the beach who did not have a sufficient amount of chairs for all the people that wanted to sit in their section. I have seen a dramatic change. I have been told by the few people I have seen lately who fly in to Puerto Plata that all the planes are packed. I saw for myself when I picked my mother up at the airport loads and loads of people getting off the planes. What I have not seen is these people frequenting establishments outside of the all-inclusives.
I don't see or hear anything that leads me to believe that things are going to get better anytime soon. I hope I am wrong but my question to the people on DR1 is; Is Sosua dying?
I’ve been in business here for the past 20+ years. Have seen Sosua go from a fun place to visit to a whore infested tourist trap. Over the past few years, things are getting a bit better. The best times were in the 80’s. Mostly Canadian middle class tourists flocked the beaches of Sosua. If you wanted a “hooker” you had to go to Charamicos. Even then, they were not that rampant. The pesos was 1:1. The few Bars or Restaurant needed to be registered with the tax people and have a permit from the Government to open a business. Good control and regular inspections. A few years later came the Europeans. That was followed by the arrival of hard core prostitutes and of course the “All Inclusive” hotels. The last few years of the Balaguer regime were not as efficient as in the past so people opened hooker bars etc. without the normal inspections. Sosua went from a nice place to stay to what it is today. Take it or leave it, you made it what it is. I’m not blaming all the European tourists, to the contrary they are contributing the cleaning it up. We are seeing more couples and tourists that are here for reasons other than sex and with a few $$ in their pockets. Have faith in Sosua. It will take time and effort to fix. Patience my friend.
 
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oldschool

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Oct 9, 2004
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Eddy said:
I’ve been in business here for the past 20+ years. Have seen Sosua go from a fun place to visit to a whore infested tourist trap. Over the past few years, things are getting a bit better. The best times were in the 80’s. Mostly Canadian middle class tourists flocked the beaches of Sosua. If you wanted a “hooker” you had to go to Charamicos. Even then, they were not that rampant. The pesos was 1:1. The few Bars or Restaurant needed to be registered with the tax people and have a permit from the Government to open a business. Good control and regular inspections. A few years later came the Europeans. That was followed by the arrival of hard core prostitutes and of course the “All Inclusive” hotels.



When I first came here in 92 Sosua was great but it's seemed like almost overnight it changed completly to what it is today and and still is today. What was posted by Eddy above is exactly why.
 
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Chester4

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Feb 12, 2004
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newyorksharkbar said:
I have been living in the Dominican Republic for over two years and more than a year of that has been spent in Sosua. That by no means makes me an expert but my observations in Sosua lead me to believe that Sosua(outside of the all-inclusives) is in big trouble. When I got here the town had its ups and downs but the uptime was very good. Many people were walking the streets and there were people on the beach who did not have a sufficient amount of chairs for all the people that wanted to sit in their section. I have seen a dramatic change. I have been told by the few people I have seen lately who fly in to Puerto Plata that all the planes are packed. I saw for myself when I picked my mother up at the airport loads and loads of people getting off the planes. What I have not seen is these people frequenting establishments outside of the all-inclusives.
I don't see or hear anything that leads me to believe that things are going to get better anytime soon. I hope I am wrong but my question to the people on DR1 is; Is Sosua dying?

Sosua Town around the Cuban Coffee Shop and Club 59 with Club X has been very busy in the night... a lot of Dominicans are out dancing in these clubs too. I have also noticed mini buses stopping in this area with tourists being dropped off in the town to enjoy the night life... I think one bus was from Breezes Resort which is a good thing. Club 59 of course is always busy ;)
 

Ken

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Eddy said:
Have faith in Sosua. It will take time and effort to fix. Patience my friend.
I feel the same way. On my way to the gym, I walk each day along the main street from the La Roca corner to first street past Banco Santa Cruz and have watched with great interest as many businesses (both stores and bars) have remodeled and new stores have been constructed (e.g., the new plaza next to Sosua Business Services). Then at the gym I see the building has been painted inside and out and the machines have been refurbished. This is not what you expect in a town in the process of dying.

As far as I am concerned, the most serious problem that Sosua has right now is the ugly corner that used to be a pleasant park. The monstrous partially completed building and construction site that was once a park are truly eye sores that detract from efforts of many businesses to be more attractive and welcoming.
 

Hillbilly

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Nobody said it, but a move away from the AI is sorely needed. Screw "trickle down" let's get the visitors out into the cities and towns, like a lot of places in Mexico, for example.
Look how few resaturants there are in POP for example....of course the "tour guides" there killed off the cruise ships with their rioting and the pigsty of the city did the rest. Lack of vision...oh man! Seems to be coming back for now.
Sosua used to be the place for all of Santiago, Moca and environs to spend their summers. Not any more.
Of course the price of gasoline makes a lot of people think twice befor taking off on a weekend trip...you'll spend as much on fuel as on a room and meals...

Jus' thinkin'

HB :D:D
 

jstnorv05

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Jun 13, 2005
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The head of tourism for Puerto Plata initially stated that the beach would need to be closed at 6PM. Several of the owners who sometimes stay open later objected to that and a second meeting was held with the people who wanted to stay open later. He finally agreed that the beach would be "officialy" open until 7PM and anyone who had customers could continue to be open as long as they have clientele. In other words the bars that have been staying open late "unofficially" are now permitted to stay open while they have customers.