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Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism Celebrates 8.4% Upswing in Visits in Q1 2012

Developments, Initiatives and New Hotels Announced
at 2012 Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange

BÁVARO, PUNTA CANA – April 25, 2012
– The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism proudly announced a dynamic 8.4 percent growth in visits in the first quarter to the Caribbean’s most popular leisure destination during the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange held at the Barceló Convention Center. Both February and March experienced an 8.4 percent growth in the quarter with 14 percent increases coming from the U.S. and Canada, Dominican Republic’s top markets, as well as from emerging markets like Russia.

All of the country’s eight international airports have welcomed increasing flights and passengers: Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) had an 8.5 percent increase over the same period last year; Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) at 4.3 percent; Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) at 6 percent and Samaná’s El Catey International Airport (AZS) boasting a 22 percent increase.

The Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia said, “The main reasons visits continue to increase are the country’s magnificent, unspoiled nature, year-round sunny and warm climate, beautiful beaches, golf courses, world-class hotels, thriving culture and gastronomy. Visitors from around the world also say that their favorite aspect of the destination is how well friendly Dominicans treat them.”

“The enormous visitor increase is also attributed to strategic investment in new tourism products and infrastructure throughout the country. The Dominican Republic government has systematically developed strategic new roads and highways to connect diverse tourism offerings within a short one or two hour drive, creating a revolution in the tourism movement here,” he added.

Several additional tourism developments were announced during the conference, including:

  • Dominican Republic’s much-anticipated Coral Highway will officially open by August of this year and will be the country’s most modern and safest highway. The highway will allow visitors from Punta Cana to reach the country’s intriguing Capital City, Santo Domingo, in just two hours. The new highway stretches from the luxurious global beach destination, Punta Cana/Bávaro, to La Romana and Bayahibe, finishing in Santo Domingo and opening up the historic Colonial City to more visitors than ever before.
  • Pablo Pinero of Grupo Piñero, developers of Gran Bahia Resorts, announced the addition of five new hotels to be built in Dominican Republic. He attributed his prestigious company’s selection of Dominican Republic for the new hotels to the convenient proximity of the country to the strong North American market and emerging Latin American markets; the best year-round climate in the world, and the safety and stability of the country. The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, Cultural and Local and Regional Tourism Clusters are working together to leverage tourism offerings along the new highway, providing new attractions in the multi-destination route. www.Grupo-Pinero.com
  • Puerto Bahia Marina & Residences is the newest shining star in Samaná. This luxurious and secluded sanctuary features the charming 33-suite Bannister Hotel, the first Café Del Mar in the Americas with an infinity pool over-looking Samaná Bay, and the only full service international marina in the area. The marina features 105 slips and receives international boating enthusiasts. A popular route leads boating enthusiast from Miami to Puerto Bahia and on to other marinas in Dominican Republic, like Ocean World in Puerto Plata, and Cap Cana and Casa de Campo’s marinas on the Southeast Coast. Expect a personal welcome and one-on-one service at this delightful property. www.PuertoBahiaSamana.com
  • Casa de Campo has recently been nominated for various prestigious awards, including Travel + Leisure 2012 Worlds Best Award, Condé Nast Traveler 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards and LINKS Top 100 Golf Courses. Additionally, in 2011, more than $40 million was invested in remodeling and promoting infrastructure of Casa de Campo, including remodeled rooms, a new lobby and pool area, La Cana Restaurant, a remodeled Playa Minitas and a new conference center. In 2011, Casa de Campo also received the prestigious honor of becoming a Leading Hotel of the World. www.CasadeCampo.com.do
  • The Cabarete – Sosúa Association of Hotels and Restaurants introduced a campaign to highlight the unique diversity found along the towns on the North Coast, including the best conditions in the world for water sports and culture, as well as lifestyle. Cabarete hopes to attract a new genre of travelers with new boutique hotels, including the new Millennium Resort & Spa.
  • Grupo PUNTACANA announced an opening date for the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel located in the PUNTACANA Village complex. The 122-room hotel will open in October 2012 and will serve the growing number of business travelers who come to conduct business in Punta Cana. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will also debut its Westin brand at PUNTACANA Resort & Club in late 2013. The 204-room property will give travelers access to the first-class amenities available at PUNTACANA Resort & Club and will offer 16 suites, meeting and wedding facilities, an expansive outdoor pool, poolside grill, cigar bar, and more. www.PUNTACANA.com/grupo-puntacana
  • The Hotel Association of Samaná shared the growing success of the destination, which they said has topography found nowhere else in the region and therefore are looking to maximize upon this. The popularity of this destination is rapidly growing both in regular tourist visits, as well as in cruise ship arrivals. In 2011, Samaná Bay received 85,000 cruise ship passengers, while 250,000 are expected in 2012.
  • Paradisus Punta Cana recently renovated guest rooms and a new Gabi Restaurant. The luxurious Caribbean resort has renovated the Standard and Royal Service rooms with modern decoration and new features, such as an outdoor Jacuzzi or private garden. The Gabi Restaurant transformation will premier in October 2012 and accommodate 360 guests at its main salon and 140 at the interior restaurant, Market Grill, which will offer contemporary cuisine and GABI's signature environment.  www.Paradisus-PuntaCana.com
  • Paradisus Palma Real announced a new royal service lounge that overlooks the ocean and offers guests premiere service once they book their stay. Paradisus' signature Royal Service Suites were also upgraded, including the new Juice Bar in the beach area, new fitness area YHI Moves, Italian Restaurant Palazzo, new computers in the VIP welcome area, and more.  www.ParadisusPalmaReal.com
  • The Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia inaugurated the Sirenis Aquagames waterpark on April 17th. The water park is located within the complex of the Sirenis Hotels & Resorts in Uvero Alto, Punta Cana. The park caters to families and kids of all ages and is offered at a discounted rate to hotel guests. www.SirenisHotels.com
About Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic's first tourist was Christopher Columbus in 1492. Rich in history, Dominican Republic has developed into a diverse destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to nearly one and a half million U.S. visitors and 4.2 million global visitors in 2011. Named #1 Golf Destination in Caribbean & Latin America by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, Dominican Republic boasts 28 designer golf courses, upscale resorts, pristine nature and sophisticated cities and quaint villages filled with warm Dominican people. Dominican Republic features the best beaches, fascinating history and culture, and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families alike. Visit Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism's official website at: www.GoDominicanRepublic.com.

Follow us on Twitter @GoDomRep Like us on Facebook GoDominicanRepublic

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Contact:

Vanessa Welter of BVK PR,
+1-850-980-3760,
+1-414-247-3803,
vwelter@bvk.com,
 for DR Ministry of Tourism
http://www.GoDominicanRepublic.com


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Also See: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism Comments on Cholera Outbreak and Safety of Travel to Region; The World Health Organization is not Recommending Restrictions / December 2010

Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia, Presents Eco-tourism and Infrastructure Developments at the 2009 Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange / April 2009

Enrique De Marchena Kaluche Named President of the Caribbean Hotel Association for 2008-2010 Recognized as the Legal Counsel with the Most Expertise in the Tourism Sector of the Dominican Republic / June 2008

The Caribbean Hotel Association Pays Tribute to Four Travel Companies and Two Individuals for Significant Contributions Towards the Development of Caribbean tourism in the United Kingdom and Europe / November 2007

Recap: The 12th Annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference; Confidence High as Investment Community Looks at Caribbean for Future Development / May 2008
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