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March 1, 2016
  • Jalao opens in the Colonial City
  • Beach volleyball in Punta Cana
  • Green light for flights to Tel Aviv and Mexico City
  • DATE set for 19-21 April 2016
  • Catalonia Hotel Santo Domingo now in operation
Jalao opens in the Colonial City
Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia was in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo last week for the opening of Jalao, on the former site of the city's Hard Rock cafe. In addition to being a Dominican food restaurant, Jalao will also be an entertainment center and showroom for Dominican culture. The restaurant will be featuring live music from the stage that the Hard Rock Cafe used for their guest performers.
Minister Garcia said that Jalao is just one of many businesses that have invested upwards of US$100 million in the Colonial City since the Ministry began the Inter-American Development Bank renovation program. He said a census carried out in September 2015 showed there were 23% new businesses in the Colonial City. It also showed that 42% of local residents also work in the old city and surrounding areas, and 35% of them work in tourism businesses.
Garcia says that 11% of the tourists who come to the country visit the Colonial City, or more than 600,000 tourists in 2015. He said 98% of the tourists polled said the visit was worth it and 87% said they would recommend the destination.
Jalao's owner Antonio Espaillat said the new business complements the historical visits the tourists will make. Espaillat is also the owner of JetSet Club on Av. Independencia.
Other shareholders are Peter Gauster (of Hard Rock Cafe Blue Mall), Rafael Cabrera (Foodhall Holding), Saverio Stassi (the Venezuelan chef of Restaurante Pat'e Palo) and Louis Brocker (owner of Restaurante Pat'e Palo and Lulu Tasting Bar, both also in the Colonial City).
Hard Rock Cafe relocated to its new site in the Blue Mall, in the city's modern commercial center.
Beach volleyball in Punta Cana
The sixth phase of the Norceca Volleyball Beach Volleyball Circuit will take place at the Los Corales section of Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana from 27 April to 2 May 2016.
Ernesto Veloz is the chair of the event's organizing committee.
In the 2015 rankings, the DR is ranked second to the United States in senior women. Puerto Rico is third, followed by Cuba and Canada.
The event is part of the 2016 Beach Volleyball Continental Tour.
Green light for flights to Tel Aviv and Mexico City
The Civil Aviation Board (JAC) has approved the requests from Aeromexico and Aerolitoral for weekly flights to Mexico City to Santo Domingo. The airlines are aiming to start regular flights by the end of March 2016 and plan to transport 100,000 passengers in a first year. The flights will be a welcome option for travelers to Mexico who now have to stop over in Panama City or Miami to connect to Mexico, making these flights many times longer than they should take. Travelers without US visas also found the indirect route somewhat inconvenient.
The JAC also approved a request for charter flights by El Al Israel Airlines from Tel Aviv (TLV) to Punta Cana (PUJ). The flights are set to begin in October 2016 using B777 airplanes. Flights will be every 13 days.
The decision was taken in the plenary meeting on 17 February 2016.
The JAC says the new flight approvals continue the open skies policy implemented by the Dominican Republic for several years now to ensure maximum connectivity by air while opening the country up more to tourism, trade and international investment.
During the meeting, Edelweiss Air, described as the leading Swiss travel leisure airline, was approved to fly from Zurich to Punta Cana. Promotional fares of CHF 799 are being offered for the flights that start on 4 May 2016. Azur Air, flying from Moscow to Punta Cana was also approved.
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DATE set for 19-21 April 2016
The National Hotel & Tourism Association (Asonahores) is again hosting DR Date, the leading business-to-business booking event for Dominican hotels. The event will be held at the Paradisus Palma Real Convention Center in Punta Cana from 19-21 April 2016. To attend, contact Asonahores at [email protected], or visiting the Asonahores offices on Calle Presidente Gonzalez with Av. Tiradentes, Edificio La Cumbre, 8th floor, Ensanche Naco in Santo Domingo. Tel. (809) 368-4676, Fax (809) 368-5566.
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Catalonia Hotel Santo Domingo now in operation
The former Hilton Hotel on the Malecon has been operating as the Catalonia Hotel Santo Domingo since 1 February 2016. This is the first city hotel opened by the Spanish chain that operates two hotels and two golf courses in Punta Cana on the east coast and another resort on Bayahibe beach in the southeast. Ivan Cunillera is the hotel's first general manager. Meanwhile, Hilton will be opening a Homewood Suites on Av. Winston Churchill for extended day stays.

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