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January 19, 2016
  • Dreaming of a boardwalk for La Romana
  • Hard Rock Hotel Santo Domingo to open in 2017
  • Travelzoo recommends travel to Puerto Plata
  • Punta Cana leads in tourist spending
  • Rally Frontera announced for February
Dreaming of a boardwalk for La Romana
The municipality of La Caleta in La Romana is proposing a seafront boulevard for La Romana, as reported in Listin Diario. The project, if implemented, would be funded by Spanish investment but would also require the support of the Dominican government. It is proposing the construction of a three-kilometer boulevard at a cost of US$300 million in a first phase. A marina, customs offices, shop kiosks, parking, luxury apartments and a ferry dock are being considered as part of the boardwalk. The ferry would take visitors to Catalina Island on beach day trips and to see the wreck of the Captain Kidd pirate ship.
The project is being promoted by La Caleta's municipal director Neftali Rijo, who says that the project was designed by experts at the School of Engineering and Architecture of the Universidad Central del Este under Architect Memo Mejia.
The project was presented to Leopoldo Arnaiz, president of Arnaiz & Partners, a leading construction firm in Spain.
If approved, the boulevard will be built in the La Caleta beach area in La Romana, between Playa Caleta to Boqueron. Rijo said that the project, which complies with ministry of Tourism and Environment requirements, would represent progress for the beach area, which is frequented mainly by local people.
Rijo told Listin Diario that the project would boost tourism in La Romana. "The socio-economic contribution and impact of the project is invaluable because it will revolutionize tourism in the area and could have repercussions for other parts of the country, but with greater controls," he said.
He said that the Spanish company was interested in the project but a push from the central government, legislators, authorities and private sector would also be needed for it to come to fruition.
The area is currently known for its beach but also for its "Villa Panty" area, where dozens of small clothing manufacturers mainly specialize in producing underwear. Most of these small business owners were trained in the La Romana free zone and went on to open their own small factories.
Hard Rock Hotel Santo Domingo to open in 2017
In an announcement made on 13 January 2016, Hard Rock International unveiled plans to start construction in April of a 40-story 400-room hotel in the midst of the booming commercial sector of Santo Domingo. The hotel will follow in the footsteps of the Holiday Inn, Embassy Suites, JW Marriott and Real Intercontinental (opening 2016) under construction in the same area.
Upon making the announcement, Nelson Parker, vice president of casino development for the chain highlighted the fact that the Dominican Republic was the region's most visited country and continues to be the top-performing destination in the Caribbean. He stressed that in 2014, the DR received almost 20% of all visitors to the Caribbean.
"The decision to bring a full service hotel and the brand's second Caribbean casino to the Dominican Republic is a testament to the country's remarkable strength in tourism."
Located in the heart of the city, the property will be home to a 23,000 sq. ft. casino, screening room, and a nightclub opening up to the main pool. The ultra-modern casino will feature two bars - including Hard Rock's signature Center Bar - a race and sports book, high limit slots, 400 slot machines and 40 table games, offering Hard Rock guests a world-class gaming experience to remember. A private gaming room on the exclusive suite floor will be available for guests with select access.
Targeting groups and weddings, the promoters say that the new hotel will include 33,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, as well as a Rock Star Suite and a Rock Royalty Level floor.
The property will also provide many brand exclusive offerings, including a world famous Rock Shop - home to Hard Rock's legendary merchandise - Rock Spa's groundbreaking Rhythm & Motion treatments and the Body Rock gym. The Lobby Bar, located on the fourth floor, will offer guests signature cocktails, while the refreshing pool features a bar and grill, as well as plush cabanas. Along with a myriad of restaurants and bars - including a cigar lounge and a celebrity-chef specialty restaurant - hotel guests will enjoy convenient access to Santo Domingo's main shopping center Blue Mall, home to the nearby Hard Rock Cafe Santo Domingo.
The new hotel, which will be built on the intersection of Av. Abraham Lincoln with Calle Jose Andres Aybar, is scheduled to open in 2017.
Travelzoo recommends travel to Puerto Plata
The Ottawa Sun newspaper reminds Canadians that the Dominican Republic is a top value destination, even at times when the value of the Canadian dollar is dropping.
In a recent report, the newspaper shares the top five value destinations for Canadians in 2016 according to the Travelzoo website. Travelzoo Deal Experts predict savings of up to 60% for travel to these destinations in 2016. The other destinations are Poland, China, Iceland and Brazil (Rio de Janeiro).
Travelzoo predicts that the Dominican Republic, a long time top Caribbean destination for Canadians for its affordability, will be more accessible than ever. The good news is that while the weaker Canadian dollar has increased the cost of hotel stays in the Caribbean, low fuel prices and expanded flight capacity have helped cut the cost of all-inclusive vacations.
Travelzoo says that travel from Toronto and Winnipeg are down almost 40% and 55% respectively over last year and several airlines have increased the number of flights to one of the country's cheapest resort destinations: Puerto Plata.
Punta Cana leads in tourist spending
The Global Destination Cities Index has listed Punta Cana as the Latin American tourist city with the highest spending. Visitors reportedly spent US$2.7 billion in Punta Cana, more than in any other Latin American city.
Next were Buenos Aires and Mexico City with US$2.3 billion, Sao Paulo with US$2.2 billion and Lima with US$1.5 billion.
Interestingly, Punta Cana was fourth in number of visitors, behind Lima, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (tied for third place) and then Punta Cana.
Punta Cana was the most visited tourism destination in the Caribbean and Central America.
Rally Frontera announced for February
The 16th Rally Frontera 4x4, the main Dominican off-road competition, has been announced for 25-28 February 2016 with the backing of the Ministry of Defense and the Quisqueya Auto Club. Around 600 participants are expected this year, up from 530 last year. This is an opportunity to tour off-the-beaten track areas with the support of the Ministry of Defense and experts in off-road travel.
Competitors will gather in Santo Domingo on Thursday, 25 January at the Ministry of Defense and will travel to Mao, Valverde. The actual competition starts on Friday, 26 January at 6am, with the first leg heading to Hondo Valle via Loma de Saba, Elias Pina, El Calimete and Rio Limpio. The next day, the route continues to Duverge, La Descubierta, Aguacate and El Hoyo de Pelempito, with a swim at Playa Cabo Rojo.
Participants will compete in a tour that takes them through much of the Dominican border area with Haiti. Organizers Colonels Carlos Chris and Frontal Carran say that more than 95% of the trek will be through mountain areas and across rivers.

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