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Dominican Republic (DR) UPDATE _ January/February 2009


  • Update on Westin Roco Ki
  • Punta Cana International Airport Expands
  • Groundbreaking for $2.5 billion Punta Perla Tourist Complex on East Coast
  • Las Americas International Airport Completes Runway Expansion
  • DR Selected for the 2010 Tourism Clusters Conference
  • Sans Souci Port in DR Prepares for Inauguration
  • DR Hotels Receive Leading Boutique Hotel Awards
  • Dominican Republic Green Nation Plan
  • Samana Whale Song to be Taped
  • Dominican Republic Procigar Festival
  • Metro Officially Inaugurated
  • Colonial Zone to Get Renewal

Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) Expands

PUJ, located on the popular east coast of the DR, recently introduced an ambitious expansion project which includes additional state-of-the-art technology and enhanced facilities for visitors. With this expansion, tourism officials anticipate the creation of hundreds of new jobs in Punta Cana. The expansion of the Caribbean’s third busiest airport is the result of a multi-million dollar investment by Grupo PUNTACANA, the owners and operators of the airport and the PUNTACANA Resort & Club. The renovation will include advanced equipment such as the only Doppler weather radar system in the DR. The expansion will also feature a new check-in terminal with forty stations and a new baggage belt system. Additional enhancements scheduled to be introduced throughout this year and next include a new, larger runway; expansion of existing taxiways; and construction of a new taxiway and control tower. Also, the airport is the first in the DR to implement the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Common Use Self Support (CUSS) Kiosk system, which includes new e-ticketing machines, baggage drop areas and 2D bar coding for boarding passes and baggage tags.  Passengers traveling on commercial flights are able to print their tickets online or at airport kiosks, drop their bags at the bag drop area and proceed directly to the gate, thus reducing their flight check-in time and improving their experience by allowing them more time in the duty-free, food court and lounge areas.


The airport currently welcomes 80 daily flights and is serviced by 55 domestic and international airlines from Latin America, North America and Europe. U.S. carriers to Punta Cana include Allegiant Air, American Airlines/American Eagle, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, and USA300. For more information, please visit:


Update on Westin Roco Ki
Graeme Davis, vice president for Caribbean operations, has announced that Westin Roco Ki is now scheduled for opening in time for winter 2009-2010. "We are shooting for late this year or the first quarter of next year at the latest," he said. "…We are ready to go in when the owners are," he said, explaining Westin's role as an operator. He described the property as "long-awaited” and announced that the property would be one of the first internationally-branded non-all-inclusive properties in the country with attractions like the Nick Faldo Legacy golf course with its signature 16th hole, and amazing humpback whales visible 100 yards offshore on a 2,500 acre development. The Faldo Legacy golf course opened Dec. 15, 2008 and is already booking tee times to the general public. For more information, please visit:


Groundbreaking for $2.5 billion Punta Perla Tourist Complex on East Coast DR President Leonel Fernández led the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Punta Perla tourist complex in the company of Prince Albert II of Monaco. The project has a projected investment of US$2.5 billion and is the third tourism initiative of this type to be launched in the country since November. President Leonel Fernandez and several government ministers, including Foreign Relations Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia, Public Works Minister Victor Diaz Rua, Industry & Commerce Minister Jose Ramon Fadul and Labor Minister Max Puig were all at the re-launching ceremony. President Fernandez, Prince Albert and developer Paraiso Tropical president Spaniard Ricardo Miranda gave the ceremonial ground breaking start for the Punta Perla, Caribbean Golf, Marina & Resort. Speaking at the event, President Leonel Fernandez reminisced that on a trip he had made to Monaco he had seen parallels and dreamt of making the DR the "Monaco of the Caribbean." Fernandez said the plan is to link both countries with a permanent flow of travelers. He added that the Prince's presence ensures a connection between this country in the Caribbean and that country in the Mediterranean.

The beachfront property will include four boutique hotels, 8,800 residential units, three golf courses, an inland marina, a beach club, an amphitheater, sports installations, commercial units, a shopping mall open to the public, a museum and staff accommodation. Punta Perla is expected to be completed within a 10-12 year period. The Prince of Monaco, although not an investor in the company, has shown an interest in supporting Punta Perla, as he considers it to be an environment-friendly tourism development that could set the standard for other similar initiatives. The complex is just under 15 minutes ride by car from Punta Cana International Airport. For more information, please visit:


Las Americas International Airport Completes Runway Expansion

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Located 15 miles east of Santo Domingo, the DR’s capital city, the Las Americas International Airport’s main runway, rebuilt by the Dominican company Aerodom at an investment of more than $19 million, was reopened in December with several incoming and outgoing flights. The new runway in the DR’s largest airport was extended to 3,354 meters (2.08 miles), with increased security levels and operating efficiency and is expected to handle approximately 5,643 flights during the tourist high season, welcoming up to 566,097 passengers from the U.S., Europe, Central America and the Caribbean. Enhancements to Las Americas’ main runway began in August 2007. Aerodom said president Leonel Fernandez and tourism and airport sector authorities will head the runway’s formal inauguration, early this year. For more information, please visit:


DR Selected for the 2010 Tourism Clusters Conference
The DR has been chosen to host the first Competitiveness Institute-sponsored global thematic conference. Maria Victoria Abreu, technical deputy director of the National Competitiveness Council, made the announcement during the closing of the 2008 TCI Annual Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 500 formally organized tourism clusters currently operate worldwide. The event will take place in 2010, but the date and venue in the DR have yet to be determined. The conference, "Moving Forward towards Leading-Edge Practices on Tourism Clustering" will focus on the role of clusters on tourism growth, and the successes and failures of the connectivity efforts. It will explore sustainable tourism from a cluster perspective and look into tou
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