JULY 2011

Installation of a Factory for Golf Carts in Dominican Republic

July 2011

400 new jobs should be created

The Spanish Group Piñero revealed this Thursday it will install a factory for tourist vehicles and golf carts in Dominican Republic, with an initial investment of 20 million dollars, with the creation of around 400 new jobs.

The investment is should further bolster the country’s thriving tourism sector, whose annual business is around US $4.0 billion, and the top currency generator.

The Piñero Group has important tourism investments and provides nearly 10,000 jobs, in its local tourism projects worth more than 2.0 billion euros.

Dominican Republic Live, 01.07.11

Number of Brazilian Tourists Could Double

July 2011

Dominican Republic is an attractive place for Brazilians

The number of Brazilian tourists could double in the next few years, since the country’s natural resources and the price of its services make it a very attractive destination for them.

Domingo Santana, who is the Dominican-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce president, said the number of tourists from that nation grows rapidly, beyond the figures of their traditional preferences such as Cancún, Chile, Miami and Argentina.

The business explained that for Brazilians, travel and lodging costs in Dominican Republic are even lower than if they were to visit tourist destinations in their own country, due to their currency’s present strength.

Mr. Santana hailed the Tourism Ministry’s work, but noted that the Government must allocate more funds to promote Dominican Republic among the around 200 million Brazilians.

He added that that the country needs to heighten its present in Brazil’s various yearly tourism fairs with a stand, represented by Tourism, hoteliers, the Dominican embassy in Brazil and the Dominican-Brazilian Chamber.

Dominican Republic Live, 04.07.11

Dollar Reserves Comply With Goals Set by IMF

July 2011

According to the Central Bank governor

Hector Valdez Albizu, the governor of the Central Bank, guaranteed that the behavior of the International Reserves this year is consistent with the estimates carried out in the “Monetary Program” of this entity and its current level amply complies with the goals established in the Stand-by Accord signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He also said that for the first months of the year the exchange rate has maintained a relative stability in spite of the adverse international surroundings and the internal factors, presenting a depreciation of barely 1.8% during the January-June period of 2011.

Mr. Albizu added that the Dominican peso has been one of the most stable currencies in the region, since the majority of the countries of Latin America have significant appreciation to the detriment of the competitiveness of their respective economies.

In a letter sent to the director of the Diario Libre, Adriano Miguel Tejada, the governor of Central Bank explained that the behavior of the international reserves this year should not produce worry or uncertainty among the analysts, makers of public opinion, and the economic agents in general.

He also informed that the management of the reserves that the Central Bank carries out will permit the country to comply without greater problems with the goal established for the close of the year.

Valdez Albizu answered this way to a public announcement published by the Diario Libre that indicates that the international reserves had gone down by US $860 million as of 21 June, in relation to the close of 2010.

The expert revealed that by December 2011 a goal of international reserves of US $2.315 billion was established, a reduction of US $390 million in relation to the level of the consolidated net international reserves, registered at the close of 2010, which implies that both the IMD as well as the Central Bank had already thought of a reduction of the reserves for this year.

Finally, he referred to the fact that at the end of 2010, the administration kept deposits in the Central Bank that had come from the disbursements that were received in the last week of the year whose use was programmed for the first quarter (January-March) 2011.

Dominican Republic Live, Diario Libre, 05.07.11

American Airlines Installs Self-service Check-in in Dominican Republic

July 2011

In Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata

American Airlines announced the installation of self service check-in machines in front of the carrier’s service counters, in the Santo Domingo, Santiago and Puerto Plata airports.

The airline said the machines feature passport readers to expedite the airport check-in process for travelers, making it more flexible and faster.

“We know that our passengers will enjoy the convenience, speed and reliability of this self-check in service, with which they can choose their seat, tag their luggage and register for flight”, said the local American Airlines director, Oliver Bojos, “As always our agents will be available to attend those who wish to make their check-in the traditional manner”.
What is self-service check-in ?

The first step is to pass the passport or through inserting their credit card through reader in the machine and select the itinerary. If the passenger is traveling with passport which the machine cannot read, they should simply follow the instructions on the machine’s screen to do so manually.

After completing the identification process, a boarding pass will be printed.

If someone requires some assistance during the process to verify the visa, travel documents, error in the name and expired passports, agents are available to help them complete the transaction.

If passengers have luggage to check, the self-service can also be used.

Dominican Republic Live, 06.07.11

Barack Obama Hails the Excellent Relations With Dominican Republic

July 2011

Both countries “share a close family and cultural bond”

United States President Barack Obama yesterday hailed the excellent relations with the Dominican Republic and the contribution of that country’s diaspora to American society.

Speaking as he received credentials of the new Dominican ambassador Aníbal de Castro in the White House Thursday afternoon, Obama said the U.S. and Dominican Republic “share a close family and cultural bond that goes beyond the collaboration between our governments”.

While noting that more than one million Dominicans live in the U.S., Obama stressed the contribution of their traditions and dynamics to his country’s history. “In addition, one of every 300 Americans visits your country on vacation or businesses every year and 100,000 Americans live and work in the Dominican Republic”.

“The United States and the Dominican Republic share a long history of mutually beneficial relations, and I am sure that your arrival here will reinforce the bilateral relations between our nations. Your personal experience as ambassador before the United Kingdom in London, as well as the commitment with freedom of the press and expression during your journalism career will be of much use for the representation of the interests of the Dominican nation here in Washington”, the U.S. chief executive said.

Dominican Republic Live, 08.07.11

Dominican Republic Prepares to Sell Dollar Bonds

July 2011

Barclays and J.P. Morgan mandated to arrange the meetings

The Dominican Republic hired two investment banks to set up meetings with fixed-income investors in Europe and the U.S. to sell dollar-denominated debt.

According to a person familiar with the deal, he B1 Moody’s-rated sovereign plans to start those meeting on July 14 to sell the proposed bonds in a 144A/Reg S deal. “It mandated Barclays and J.P. Morgan to arrange the meetings. No offering size was disclosed”, the WSJ pointed out.

In mid-June, the agency Standard and Poor’s upgraded the Dominican Republic to B+/B from B/B, with a stable outlook, citing a “resilient” economy and improving debt structure. The ratings agency said it expects the nation’s real gross domestic product to grow 5.5% this year, with a “feasible” medium-term growth of 4% to 5%, the online newspaper said.

Dominican Republic Live, 11.07.11

NASA Studies Enriquillo Lake’s Growth

July 2011

It has grown around 9,000 hectares in 2 years

NASA sensor measurement from space reveals that Enriquillo Lake has grown around 9,000 hectares from February 26, 2009, to April 15, 2011. NASA’s measurements of Enriquillo’s underflow level were done with Landsat and Modis type sensors, which also provided satellite imagery in the study.

The Santo Domingo State University’s (UASD) Marine Research Center suggests that two underground currents at the Haiti-Dominican border as the possible cause.

According to this hypothesis the subsurface currents from Tierra Nueva and Las Lajas, towns adjacent to Haitian territory, spill their waters into Enriquillo and Azuey lakes, could turn out to be the cause behind the as yet unexplained flooding in both bodies of water.

“That amount of water is still draining towards Enriquillo lake from high territories” in the Dominican Republic, NASA said on its Website, and affirms that the lake’s surroundings “have been flooded even more than the floods brought about by the rain sequel caused by Hurricane Noel and Tropical Storm Olga in 2007”.

Enriquillo received 400 millimeters of water during those rains, and surpass 700 millimeters in the last two years, without any rain in the zone, which reveals the magnitude of the flooding that affects the Caribbean region’s biggest lake since 2009.

Dominican Republic Live, 12.07.11

25 Dominican Youth Organizations Participate in UNICEF Forum

In order to learn more about human rights and human development

More than 25 Dominican youth organizations participated in the “Youthful Participation Forum Camp”, organized by the UNDP and UNICEF in the country.

The event was held from June 23 to 26 in Villa Matatá, Villa Altagracia, and forms part of a process which the two United Nations agencies have been supporting to strengthen the participation capacities of the country’s youth organizations, centered on the paradigms of human development and human rights.

70 youngsters, members of different youth organizations, participated in several workshops and didactic activities during three days, organized to bolster their knowledge in the framework of human rights and human development, promote teamwork and improve their capacities to organize around timely topics for the country’s development.

Dominican Republic Live, 13.07.11
Inter-American Development Bank will support construction of wind farms in Dominican Republic
Wind farm plants in the Dominican RepublicIt approved two loans of U $ 78.3 million

The Inter-American Development Bank approved two loans for a total of $78.3 million to support the construction of two wind farm plants in the Dominican Republic. The wind energy projects are part of the country’s new investment in electric power production and will add a total of 80.6 megawatts to the existing electricity production capacity, estimated at 3000 megawatts.

The new wind farms are being developed by private companies and reflect the growing confidence in the Dominican energy sector. Progress in the sector’s operating management, the new leadership of the Corporación Dominicana de Empresas Eléctricas Estatales (CDEEE) and the development of a strategic plan represent determining factors for the sector´s future development of the sector and plans to expand sources of energy production.

These wind farm projects, among the first to be constructed in the Dominican Republic, will help the country diversify its energy matrix, which currently depends almost exclusively on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas for electricity production. The wind power projects will take advantage of incentives created by a recent law to develop electricity production from nontraditional, renewable sources.

A $27.6 million loan to Grupo Eólico Dominicano, a company controlled by the Spanish group Inveravante, will help finance the installation of 17 Vestas V90 wind turbines, with a capacity of 1.8 megawatts each, in the locality of Baní, in the Peravia province, to the west of Santo Domingo. The total cost of this wind farm will be on the order of $68.9 million.

Another $50.7 million loan will support the Parques Eólicos del Caribe (PECASA) project, under development by a business consortium made up of Gamesa, Grupo Delta Intur, Aquiles Mateo and Miguel Ángel Muñiz, to install 25 Gamesa G90 wind turbines with a capacity of 2 megawatts each in the locality of Guanillo, in the southern province of Monte Cristi. The total cost of this wind farm is estimated at $127 million.

Both loans were granted for a 15-year term with interest rates subject to market conditions.

In both cases, 138-kilovolt transmission lines will be constructed to connect the wind farms to the national electric grid, and civil engineering works will be constructed, including access roads, substations and control stations, and foundations and platforms for the turbines.

The wind farms will sell the power produced to the CDEEE based on 20-year power purchase agreements.

These wind power projects should increase the production of clean energy in the Dominican Republic and reduce its vulnerability to oil price fluctuations. In addition, the wind farms will allow the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by an average amount of 144.000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Both wind farms may qualify for obtaining certified reductions of carbon dioxide emissions.

Similarly, the wind energy projects will foster the transfer of technology and specialized knowledge during both their construction and operating phases.

The IDB will continue to contribute its support for modernization and sustainable development in the Dominican electricity sector, providing financing and technical assistance in various areas, including distribution and tele-metering.

Dominican Republic Live, 14.07.11

American Airlines to Offer More Flights to Dominican Republic

July 2011

American Airlines It will offer 3000 seats daily to passengers

American Airlines will increase to 25 its daily flights from the United States to the Dominican Republic’s major international airports.

From La Romana to San Juan (Puerto Rico), the airline will increase flights from two per week to two per day. There will also be two daily flights at the Santiago International Airport to and from Miami and one to San Juan.

Between the airports of Miami and Punta Cana International Airport, American Airlines will increase to three its daily flights between both airports. It will also add a second flight from New York to this destination. American Eagle, a subsidiary of AA, will add a third flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

From Las Americas International Airport, American Eagle will offer four daily flights to San Juan and one to Haiti. With all the new flights, AA will offer three thousand seats daily to passengers traveling between the United States and the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic Live, 18.07.11

Dominican Students Set Guinness Record

July 2011

They read during 240 hours continuously

Five young Dominicans from the northwestern province of Valverde hope to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records for a reading aloud marathon by a team for more than 224 hours, when the clock struck 11:15:28 p.m.

For 240 hours and 28 seconds they read aloud continuously to surpass the previous record set by six students from Florida’s Miami Dade College.

Randolfo Ariostto Jiménez, Carlos Jose Reyes, Cristian Rodriguez, Jose Manuel Bueno and Martha Esther Madera, from northwestern Valverde province.

The esplanade of the Youth Ministry, which organized the event, last night became a joyous celebration with applause, smiles and cheering.

The new record was set while Ariostto read one professor Juan Bosch works. The group’s effort included the reading of more than 5,000 pages of the late ex-president’s and prolific writer’s texts.

The former record had been set in 2009 by a team from the Miami Dade College during an International Book Fair.

They plan to continue reading till they reach 365 hours. Their message is to encourage Dominicans and young people around the world to read for at least one hour a day. The Ministry of Youth is sponsoring the initiative.

Dominican Republic Live, 19.07.11

First Wind Farm Should Be Inaugurated in August

The mega-project is located in Juancho

The long-awaited inauguration of the country’s first major wind farm will take place on 4 August.

The mega-project is located in Juancho, in “Los Cocos” and Quilvio Cabrera in the southwestern province of Pedernales, between Enriquillo and Oviedo.

It will generate 33 megawatts of electricity to the area, providing energy for tourism development and saving millions in fuel bills.

There are 19 huge windmills, 14 of which are well over 300 feet in height.
The US $90 million investment in the wind farm was a joint initiative by EGE-Haina and the Punta Cana-Macao Energy Consortium.

This is the first stage of the project begun in 2006 and which will eventually contribute 100 megawatts to the national grid.

Dominican Republic Live, 20.07.11

Eat Lionfish to Protect the Marine Ecosystem

July 2011

Lionfish in Dominican RepublicThis predator fish feeds smaller species

The Environment Ministry and the PUCMM University Hotel Administration Department organized a luncheon based on dishes using lionfish, an invasive species illegally introduced in Dominican coasts.

Environment Minister Jaime David Fernández Mirabal headed the activity in Mirador Park’s El Lago restaurant, in the capital.

The goal of this activity was to spurt the consumption of the species, which tasty recipes.

Environment minister explained that the lionfish is delicious and contains many nutrients.

He also urged the population to consume it as a way to control its numbers. He said it’s a predator that poses a threat for the balance of coastal and marine ecosystems, including native fish and crustaceans, because it feeds on larvae and smaller species.

Dominican Republic Live, 21.07.11

Foreign Professionals Must Register With Pro-Consumidor

July 2011

Suppliers will have to present their credentials

All foreign professionals will now have the obligation to register in the Consumer Rights Institute (Pro-Consumidor) to be able to work in the country, Altagracia Paulino, the executive director of the entity, announced in a press conference Thursday.

Resolution 03-11 from the organization contains the requirement to register, because the Dominican Republic-Central America-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) doesn’t foresee the status of foreign professionals who provide their services in the country.

The registry requirement stipulates so that suppliers of services must present their technical or professional credentials as guarantee of their temporarily operation in Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic Live, 22.07.11

Dominican Republic Attracts More British Tourists

July 2011

They were 52,491 during January-May 2011

During January-May 2011 a total of 52,491 British tourists, equivalent to 3% of the 1.7 million visitors that travelled to the Dominican Republic, visited the island.

In this period Dominican airports received 2.1 million passengers, 4.3% more than during the same time period in 2010 and nearly 1.2 million British tourists visited the Dominican Republic during the 2005-2010 period.

Ninety percent of these tourists came in through the Punta Cana International Airport, located on the far eastern tip of the island, while the rest came in through the Puerto Plata airport, the north coast’s most important tourism destination.

Great Britain has become the country’s 4th largest tourism marketplace in Europe, and the sixth worldwide. In order of importance, the country’s most important markets in Europe are France, Spain, Germany, England and Italy.

In 2010, nearly 1.2 million European tourists visited the Dominican Republic through local international airports.

Dominican Republic Live, 25.07.11

Trade Between Dominican Republic and United States Totals About US $9 Billion Per Year

60% of the tourists who visit the island are from this country

Dominican President Leonel Fernández took part in the conference on “The Hispanic Caribbean: its own field of study” at his Global Democracy and Development Foundation (Funglode) and said that trade between the Dominican Republic and the United States totaled about US $9 billion, and that 60% of the tourists who visit the country are from the United States.

The president talked about the links dating back to the pre-Columbian period between the three large Caribbean islands of Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. He recalled how the leaders of the independence movements in each of the islands who traveled between the islands in search of freedom.

He added that, “there have been ties between our countries that are expressed through solidarity”. He noted that the independence process of the Hispanic Caribbean was atypical and different from the rest of Latin America and that Puerto Rico still has to decide its future.

President called for more research on the historic interaction between the Caribbean and the United States, as well as on the extinction of the Indians after the arrival of the Europeans to the New Continent.

“I think that the history of Spanish Caribbean needs to be studied in two fundamental phases: the relationship between the Caribbean and Spain and the relationship between the Caribbean and the United States”.

“This is a relationship that was born at the end of the 19th century and that was consolidated exactly between Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and is very much alive today”, he said during the conference, as reported in Listin Diario.

Dominican Republic Live, 26.07.11

Tourism Sector Wants More Investment in international Promotion

July 2011

Cutting by 12% the Tourism Ministry’s budget is a mistake

The country’s hoteliers and tourism businesses association Asonahores on Monday called a 12% cut to the Tourism Ministry’s already small budget a mistake, noting that it’s the only sector that can ease the crisis, contribute jobs and increase the generation of currencies to correct the foreign trade deficit.

The business group considers the correct thing is to increase investment to bring more tourists, “not to reduce the funds for promotion”.

Asonahores said the circumstances which affect the major tourist markets show a need for competition and demands an increase, and the need of more funds to address the tourist regions’ problems.

It added that the Government must review its policy on funding for tourism, since it’s the economy’s most dynamic sector.
Dominican Tourism has declined compared with its Caribbean competitors

Juan Llibre also revealed Wednesday that their sector has declined compared with its Caribbean competitors, with the key sign that tourist arrivals grew barely 3.5% in the first half of the year, to the region’s 5%.

Asonahores president called it a negative signal “which concerns us and which must lead us to a review, to see in what we aren’t doing, and what task we must do”.

The business leader, speaking in a press conference to announce the Dominican Annual Tourism Forum 2011, titled “Towards where do we go ?”, said it was in June when tourists arrival posted its deepest decline, from 4% in May to 3.5%.

Llibre blamed the decrease on the Tourism Ministry’s cuts on international promotion and on the tax on the airline jet fuel Avtur, which increases air fares. Fausto Fernández tourism vice minister admitted the cuts on promoting the country as a tourist destination abroad, citing lack of funds from the 12% trim in the budgets of most government agencies.

Dominican Republic Live, 27.07.11

Dominican Government Aborts August 16th Long Weekend

July 2011

Long week-end Dominican beachTourism sector complain as it looses reservations

The tourism sector in Dominican Republic is “screaming” about the around the more than 25,000 cancelled reservations (more than 60%) for what would be the summer’s last long weekend (August 13 to 15), after the Labor Ministry decided to revert the change of the holiday from Tuesday August 16 for Monday the 15th, which it announced in January.

The tour operators, travel agencies and hotels said they spent RD $1.0 billion on ads, sales, bookings, guides and other costs, money they risk losing if the Labor Ministry decides to maintain Tuesday August 16, as a day off.

“That announcement has been a disaster for the sector, and many small agencies fear going bankrupt because they must pay for the rooms even if they aren’t occupied”, said Augusto Jose Castro, tour operator Domitur marketing director and Elizabeth Tovar, Tour Operators Association president, who noted that they had booked 2,100 rooms for that date.

The hoteliers warned that the Labor Ministry’s disposition has brought about serious damages to the sector.

Dominican Republic Live, 28.07.11

Tourists Spend Little Time and Money in Dominican Republic

July 2011

Tourists in Dominican RepublicAccording to the National Statistics Office

Tourist spends little money on average daily in the Dominican Republic, and after many years of stagnation, it climbed in 2008, only to fall again this year.

The stay of the tourist is also very short, and has remained so for a long time, according to figures from the National Statistics Office (ONE).

It found that on average tourists spent less than 103 dollars per day in 2005; 102 dollars in 2006; 105 dollars in 2007 and 110 dollars in 2008, but fell to 107 dollars in 2009 and remained the same in the 2010.

The statistics are confirmed in a report on development in Dominican Republic, by Harvard University technicians. It says that the tourists’ spending is among the lowest and also reflects a tourism model in which visitors don’t venture out of the hotels and, therefore, don’t spend or spend little on food, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs among others.

Dominican Republic Live, 29.07.11

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