President Luis Abinader, accompanied by First Lady Raquel Arbaje, met with the top echelons of tourism in Samana and promised support for a series of long-sought provincial projects. President Abinader actively participated in the Integral Tourism Development Plan presentation for the province by the Samaná Cluster and the Samana Association of Hotels and Tourism Companies (AHETSA). The presentation was by Jesus Duran, president of the Samaná Tourism Cluster; Juan Bancalari, president of Ahetsa), Rafael Blanco Canto, tourism advisor to the Presidency and major Samana investor and his son Rafael Blanco, who is the president of the National Hotel & Tourism Association; former minister of Tourism Frank Jorge Elías, among others.
Also present at the Puerto Bahía meeting for the government was Tourism Minister David Collado, province Senator Pedro Catrain, Public Works Minister Deligne Ascensión Burgos; deputy administrative minister Igor Rodríguez; Samaná governor Elsa de León; the director of the Executing Committee for Tourist Zone Infrastructure (Ceiztur) and the director of the Specialized Tourism Security Corps (Cestur), Brigadier General Juan Carlos Torres Robiou.
The government will back the renewal of the main road access to the city. The city entrance is now enters through a slum area. The government offered support for the ports of Samana Bay and Arroyo Barril. The government gave the green light for the renovation of the historic center of the city of Sánchez, site of the first international bank in the Dominican Republic to turn this into a tourist attraction area.
The government will also back improvements in garbage management in Las Terrenas and Samaná city. The garbage solutions have been entrusted to Neney Cabrera, of the new Special Programs and Strategic Projects of the Presidency.
The President said dates will be set for the start of the renewal projects as their budgets are coordinated.
The Abinader administration is also backing international airlines that open flights to Samana. Recently, American Airlines announced the start of a flight. Tourism Minister Collado announced that the Presidency approved US$2 million for commercial agreements with airlines to enable direct flights from United States airports to Samaná’s El Catey International Airport.
“In these five months, more has been done for Samaná than in many years. This is a clear sign of the government’s commitment to tourism and especially to this province,” said Collado. He said hotel occupancy in Samaná is at 76%.
At the start of his administration, in September 2020 President Abinader visited Samaná and asked the tourism entrepreneurs to prepare the plan.
The Abinader administration is also concentrating on finding a solution to the onerous toll road contract it has inherited from the past administrations. The tolls to Samana cost around four times more than to other tourism destinations.
“When we support tourism, we do it thinking of the hundreds of thousands of Dominicans who live from tourism. We have rescued, even being the sector most affected by this pandemic, more than one hundred thousand jobs since August 2020,” says President Abinader. “That recovery equals jobs, and that is what this government is working for, to create jobs.”
He valued the union between the public and private sector, as the only way to develop an economy satisfactorily. “We are all working together. URBE, associations, deputies, governors, mayors and city councils of all parties that have collaborated because this government belongs to all Dominicans,” the Presidency reports in the press release on the meeting.
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22 February 2021