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Travel in the Dominican Republic is up

Articles provided by DR1

Travel to the DR was up 13% in March compared to the same month last year. And it’s the Americans who are coming: 60% of foreigners are coming from the US. Through March, 33,777 more US tourists visited, compared to the first three months last year. This is more significant because the US is still recovering from the financial crisis.

Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia says he is proud that travel to the DR has been up over every month since September, reflecting a recovery from 2009 numbers that had leveled out on those of 2008. Javier Garcia says statistics show a 3.5% growth so far this year. The Minister added that these figures show that the DR is consolidating itself as a preferred destination for travelers from the Caribbean and also from Latin America.

Travel to the DR from January to April 2010 is only 41,319 tourists short of the peak 2008 level. Stats for tourist arrivals from January to April 2010 were 1,553,393, a 2.3% increase over the 1,518,210 tourist arrivals for the same period in 2009, or 35,183 non-resident travelers. These numbers include 1,380,759 foreign tourists and 172,634 non-resident Dominicans. They reflect the drop in traffic from Europe, due to the Icelandic volcano eruption crisis at the end of April. South America continues to send more travelers, with arrivals coming from Argentina, Puerto Rico, Chile, Brazil and Venezuela.

Punta Cana International Airport is still the main airport for air arrivals, with 58.33% of the tourists who visited during the first quarter of the year coming through that airport, or 805,323 tourists. Las Ame ricas (Santo Domingo) was second with 17.62%, followed by Puerto Plata with 13.78%, La Romana with 4.15%. Together, Cibao, La Isabela and Catey in Samana reported 6.12%.

The Central Bank reports that 63.27% of travelers to the DR are 21 to 49 years old, 53.61% are women.

USA Today focuses on real estate development in Samana, Las Terrenas

An article titled “Second homes: A gust of new development in the Dominican Republic” recently appeared in USA Today.  The article was very positive, which is good news for investors and those considering investing in real estate in the Dominican Republic.

The article’s focus is on the north coast, and specifically  the Samana Peninsula, Cabarete and Puerto Plata.

Some of the highlights of the article include:

• The Dominican Republic has long been a favorite of US and international buyers, thanks to plentiful beaches and high-quality golf courses, high-end developments coupled with affordable prices, and a stable, democratic government.

• Now, thanks to infrastructure improvements and the simple desire to find the next hot place, second-home buyers are heading back north, spurred by the development of the Samana Peninsula.

• The newly emerging Samana Peninsula began as a second-home destination for Dominicans but is increasingly being “discovered” by overseas buyers.

• Samana Peninsula: Several towns on this 40-mile-long peninsula are seeing development, but for US buyers, the runaway favorite is Las Terrenas.  Already home to several boutique hotels, the longtime fishing village is emerging as a culinary hotspot, with European chefs taking advantage of the seafood.

To read the whole article, go to USA Today.

Luxuryliving International taps Dominican NE as best of Paradise’s 10 top beaches

Article provided by Dominican Today

Santo Domingo.- Balmy breezes, unbelievable beaches, fantastic financial incentives…the utter escape from the mad-dash of the “real world” and a permanent flip-flop lifestyle. These are just a few of the reasons more and more affluent travelers are choosing to live in paradise.

Of all the spots to buy a vacation or retirement home in the paradises of the Caribbean, Central America and Latin America, beachfront property continues to top the list.

There is something restorative about the beach-the sand, sun and sea have the power to revive us even after long hours of working and months of cold weather back home. Whether you enjoy splashing in the surf, sunning on the shore or simply listening to the waves from the terrace of your villa while relaxing with a cool drink, beach living is about as blissful as it gets.

The Caribbean and Central and Latin America are blessed with some of the finest beaches in the world. Only hours away from most major U.S. and European cities, these beaches offer the added bonus of being easily accessible.

For many, it’s an simple choice to own a vacation home or retire to a beach in paradise-not only are these stunning beaches easy to reach (yet worlds away from reality), but many of the countries have a lower cost of living and offer financial incentives to make retiring in paradise more desirable than ever.

Last year, Luxury Living International brought you our expert picks for the Top 10 Places to Live in Paradise. Now, we delve further into life in paradise, providing a detailed look at the Top 10 Beaches to Live on Paradise. From the Turks and Caicos to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, these are the best beaches, beachside developments and beachfront properties that you would love to call home-and actually can.

Our picks represent the best of beach living in paradise-each of these beaches offers luxury, accessibility, great properties and, above all, sublime beauty.

Coson Beach, Las Terrenas, Samana (northeast)

Perhaps the Caribbean’s best-kept secret, the once-sleepy fishing village of Las Terrenas is becoming one of the hottest spots for vacation homes in the Caribbean for those in-the-know. Some are even calling it the San Tropez of the Caribbean.

The Dominican Republic boasts some of the best beaches in the world and Las Terrenas and Samana Peninsula have the best of the best, including Coson (Playa Coson), a long, luscious stretch of untouched sand dotted with gently leaning palms.

Besides beautiful beaches, Las Terrenas entertains with an eclectic mix of international restaurants and shops and outdoor pursuits from fishing and diving to hiking and whale watching. Los Nomados, the Samana Peninsula’s premier gated community, is the place to find that paradise dream house and own a slice of virginal Playa Coson. Villas such as the sprawling, modern-meets-Caribbean-chic Villa del Mar enjoy a prime spot right on the sands of Playa Coson.

Langosta Beach, Guancaste, Costa Rica

Langosta beach, located down the sand from bustling town of Tamarindo in Guancaste, Costa Rica, is a paradise for surfers, nature-lovers and beach bums alike-and those seeking R&R in the exclusive properties on Millionaire’s Row overlooking the beach. Surfers enjoy the right and left point breaks that curve off the mouth of the river, and a short boat ride up this river takes you to into a forest home to wild howler monkeys. The wide, sandy beach is big enough for surfers and beach lovers to enjoy it and never feel crowded. Millionaire’s Row overlooks the best beachfront real estate in Costa. Private and gated, Crystal Sands on Millionaire’s Row has 20 luxury and exclusive villas designed to enjoy every inch of the stunning beach.

Juanillo Beach, Punta Cana, D.R. sand, bright turquoise water, green palms-the colors synonymous with an amazing beach seem turned up just a little brighter at Juanillo Beach in Punta Cana, D.R. Protected by a coral reef, the calm waters of Juanillo Beach can soothe even the most frazzled of nerves. Found within the gates of the massive Cap Cana luxury community-which features beach villas, resorts, Trump estates, a full-service marina, and many fine dining options-Juanillo beach remains pleasantly undeveloped, a reminder to why we love coming to paradise in the first place. Owning a villa in Cap Cana gives you access to Juanillo Beach, which is revered by locals, travel experts and editors alike as one of the best beaches in not just the D.R. or the Caribbean, but the entire world.

Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas

Visitors to Harbour Island know you don’t need to stray far from home to experience one of the most remarkable beaches in the world. The Bahamas are only 50 miles from Miami, and just a 30-minute flight from Nassau and 1.5 hours from the U.S. is Pink Sand Beach, whose pink-hued grains make it truly one-of-a-kind. Pink is all the rage on Harbour Island-the pink-shelled conch is the local delicacy, try it served up as “cracked conch.” While quaint and laid back, Harbour Island is also a high-end Bahamian Out Island, home to million-dollar villas, luxe resorts and big-money fishing tournaments. Prime real estate opportunities can be found along Pink Sand Beach. One- to three-bedroom villas in Romora Bay allow owners to enjoy resort amenities in their beachside residence.

Rodney Bay Beach, St. Lucia, West Indies

People travel to St. Lucia to fall in love-it’s a top destination for weddings and honeymoons-but they end up falling in love with the near-perfect island, perhaps the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Beaches range from black volcanic sand to those with low-slung palms reminiscent of the South Pacific. Then there’s Rodney Bay, with its big crescent-shaped beach on the north end of the island that’s brimming with new marinas, restaurants and resorts and flanked by a white sand beach. The Landings St. Lucia, a Rock Resort property, brings luxury to Rodney Bay and offers up 122 one-, two- and three-bedroom villa suite condo residences, some with plunge pools and all with balconies overlooking the beach below.

Cabo San Lucas Beach, Los Cabos, Mexico

It’s hard to go wrong Los Cabos, Mexico, when it comes finding excellent beach living. With its sweeping natural rock formations, Cabo is the backdrop for many a great photograph and those who take up residence on the beach can enjoy this constant “screen saver” of natural beauty. Cabo San Lucas enjoys the vibe of a chill, Mexican beach town that’s turned into a cosmopolitan escape. The luxurious Cabo del Sol development boasts beachfront home sites, villas and condominiums. The community puts a premium on golf as well with a Nicklaus-designed ocean course, a Weiskopf-designed desert course and a 40,000 square foot clubhouse.

Treasure Cay Beach, Abaco, Bahamas

Those who relate the Bahamas with the massive resorts Nassau and Freeport don’t know the real Bahamas-the unhurried pace and natural beauty of the Out Islands are what living in paradise is all about. In the Abaco Islands, New England architecture brought over by Loyalists during the American Revolution lends a charming appeal to this part of paradise. Treasure Cay Beach, located on the eponymous Treasure Cay, earned a superb beach ranking from National Geographic. Treasure Cay Real Estate offers beach lots for sale along this more than three-mile-long white sand heaven. Beyond the sand, the Treasure Cay Resort has an 18-hole golf course, full-service marina, retail center and more.

St. Jean Beach, St. Barths

St. Barths is an island rich in French culture, fortune and beaches-14 beautiful beaches in total on the small, exclusive island. The massive (and massively popular) St. Jean beach is split in two by The EdenRock hotel in the middle. The beach is stacked with cafes, resorts and luxury villas. Long and set on a wide bay, it’s the ideal spot for those who enjoy their beach equal parts luxurious and lively. The island has a reputation for being postcard-perfect and safe. If fine dining, high-end shopping, celebrity flair and utmost privacy are what you’re after, St. Barths fits the bill.

Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

The immaculate Grace Bay Beach on the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales seems so perfect and clean (and the water so clear and refreshing), that you think surely this must be a protected state park. What a surprise when you turn around and your villa is right there, kissing the sands of the lovely Grace Bay Beach. The all-suite Grace Bay Club, on Grace Bay Beach, of course, offers luxe properties for sale along the beach. The Estate of Grace Bay, a collection of 22 custom-designed, high-end residences opened last year. Just south of the Bahamas, this beauty of an island is easy to get to, and scuba divers will have a blast exploring the waters of the Turks and Caicos.

Anse Marcel Beach, St. Martin

Tucked between rolling hills on the northernmost tip of French St. Martin is the secluded village and beach of Anse Marcel. A winding, steep road is the only entrance to Anse Marcel, keeping crowds at bay unless they are coming to visit a dive shop, boutique resort or the protected marina found here. Villas and town homes are available steps away from the beautiful, quiet beach-a favorite secret spot among locals and in-the-know vacationers. This off-the-beaten-track location affords complete relaxation while the high-end shopping found in Marigot Bay the excellent cuisine of Grand Case are only minutes away by car.

Haiti Earthquake: Impact on the Dominican Republic?

How has the disastrous January 12 earthquake in Haiti impacted its island neighbor, the Dominican Republic (DR) and how might it impact the DR in the future?  It’s impossible to say what the long term consequences might be; however, the short term is more clear.  

The actual quake was felt in some areas of the Dominican Republic, including the capital city, Santo Domingo.  High rise buildings shook, sending people downstairs and into the streets, fearing that the tremor might intensify.  Thankfully, there was no damage or deaths in the Dominican Republic as a result of the devastating Haitian earthquake.  

The Dominican Republic’s response to the Haiti earthquake has been both one of concern for the victims and immediate action.  The authorities, businesses, humanitarian groups, and the Dominican military joined forces to mobilize humanitarian aid.  Dominican humanitarian groups arrived in Haiti only a few hours after the earthquake struck, and many have remained there since. Bottled water and food is being sent to survivors, while heavy machinery is being sent to remove the rubble.  Hospitals and airports have been made available.  The Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Indotel) helped restore telephone services.  Dominican technicians are helping to restore power. Along with the International Red Cross, the Dominican Red Cross has been providing health relief services.  The Dominican government has spent more than $20 million dollars in humanitarian aid for Haitians.    

Maria Montez International Airport located in the southwestern Barahona province of the Dominican Republic has been lent to Haiti, allowing Haitians who live abroad use the airport to travel to and from Port-au-Prince.  It’s estimated that the airport is handling one hundred and fifty flights per day. The last stretch of the trip to and from Haiti will be made by bus.

Haiti Embassador Fritz Cineas called the Dominican authorities decision to offer Maria Montez Airport a great gesture of solidarity with the Haitian people.  He also thanked the Dominican government for agreeing to build a 12 kilometer span of highway from Jimani to the Haitian town, Fond Parisien.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said that “From the beginning of this crisis, the Dominican Republic government has been providing very generously and swiftly all possible assistance to its neighboring country, Haiti, and we are very much grateful to them. I am also aware of the Dominican Republic’s intention to dispatch troops there – that is also welcome. For the immigration issues, I am also aware that the Dominican Republic Government is trying to accommodate as many as possible, those people within the existing rules and regulations of their country, but they have been very generous.”

Despite the tremendous amount of support the Dominican Republic has given, and continues to give to Haiti, there are some who have criticized the Dominican Republic for not doing more.

Historically, there has been tension between the two countries.  The Dominican Republic earned its independence from Haiti in 1844, and has since built a stable government and economy for itself.  Haiti remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and would require far more aid than the Dominican Republic, with its limited resources, could ever possibly offer.   

For years the Dominican Republic has been criticized for its treatment of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Though the Dominican Republic has always defended its right to exercise tight border control, about a million Haitian immigrants live in the Dominican Republic, mostly working in construction and agriculture. The DR has frequently been bombarded with refugees fleeing Haiti’s political and natural disasters. In the aftermath of the earthquake, some say Haitian refugees should be allowed to enter and stay in the Dominican Republic. It’s even been suggested that Punta Cana’s luxury resorts should house displaced Haitians, instead of accommodating wealthy tourists.  

Dominican hospitals are currently overwhelmed with sick and wounded Haitians. When the injured Haitians are well, the Dominican Republic will want them to return to their own country. It is likely that some will not agree with this approach.

Though the Dominican Republic has opened its border to accommodate truckloads of Haitians badly injured from the earthquake, the DR is still maintaining immigration controls fearing some of the 4000 inmates who escaped from a Port-au-Prince prison may seek refuge in the DR.  

It remains unclear just how the Dominican Republic–and Haiti–will be impacted by the recent earthquake disaster.  If international aid is successful long-term, perhaps Haiti will offer more opportunity for its people, and the country will become stronger in the years following the horrendous suffering caused by the quake.  Perhaps relations between the countries will be improved as a result of the outpouring of support Dominicans have offered their neighbor.  As to how the earthquake will effect the Dominican economy, world perceptions of the DR, and even tourists and real estate markets, we will have to wait and see.

Dominican Republic may see a 2nd wave of French investments

December 3, 2009

Article supplied by Dominican Today


PARIS. – The French Enterprise Movement (MEDEF) today stated its interest in making Dominican Republic the front door for a second wave of investments from its country in the areas of tourism, energy, rail transport, technology, banks, perfume and telecoms in the rest of the Caribbean.


As part of the French strategy to continue investing abroad, president Leonel Fernandez was treated to a breakfast to explain Dominican Republic’s attractive investment facilities in beach and mountain tourism, extreme aquatic sports and in the renewable energy, telecom, medical industry and retail sectors, with legal security guaranteed.


Around 35 representatives of French companies heard Fernandez affirm that despite the global economic crisis’ negative effects, the Dominican economy grows steadily , which spurs confidence in foreign investors who continue bullish on the country’s stability.


He said the country offers the best possibilities for French investors, that already have a massive presence in northeast Samaná province, especially Las Terrenas, where 80 percent of the hotels and restaurants are French managed.


The chief executive noted that after 11 years since his first official visit in 1998, fruit  those efforts the companies Alstom, Accor, Carrefour and Orange have set up operations in Dominican Republic where their performance has been more than satisfactory. “We’re very confident this new encounter can contribute to the alliance between our two countries and materialize other business projects as a way to continue fortifying the progress which we have obtained in recent years.”


“This crisis definitively affected us in the second half of 2008 and alerted us to the importance of preparing ourselves to confront the difficult problems at any moment,” Fernandez said.

What crisis? Dominican Republic tourism real estate projects forge on

Article provided by Dominican Today

Santo Domingo.- Contrary to what occurred in other countries which compete with Dominican Republic, investments in tourism real estate projects continue growing as the result of the strong position of local banks and lower interests in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Dominican Tourism Realtors Association (ADETI) president Juan Bancalari affirms the scenario has led to the creation of new residential facilities in the different tourism regions. “The financial sector played a preponderant role in the reactivation of the tourism real estate sector.”

Though the hotelier didn’t specify figures the Tourism Ministry had previously announced that to October 30 the Tourism Promotion Council approved and classified 44 projects of US$7.9 billion, to build 54,725 non-hotel rooms and complementary offers.

Bancalari affirms that the tourist who invests in luxury real estate projects and tourism residences become part of the country due to the society created, adding that they come to Dominican Republic more than twice a year and bring relatives and friends with them, which may produce a new investor.

3% growth rate forecasted in Dominican Republic for 2009

Article supplied by

Government Bullish on Economy
The Dominican government’s economic team is optimistic about growth prospects for the end of the year, as reported in Listin Diario. The team forecasts a growth rate of at least 3% for this year. The IMF forecasts growth of 2.5% for next year with the creation of some 10,000 jobs following the injection of money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank. 
According to Listin Diario, the economic team says that the economy is responding to recent funds injections and results will be seen in less than a month and a half. The best demonstration of that, they say, is the fact that banks have increased loans by RD$29 billion, in contrast to the situation at the end of 2008 and during the first months of this year. 

The authorities say that the amount of money being moved by the entire banking community, both public and private is setting the pace, with banks lending money at between 10% and 14%, a low in banking credit in the DR. They mentioned that commerce had received loans for more than RD$9.5 billion, which they expect will make 2010 a take-off year. The entire agricultural sector has received around RD$4 billion, including fishing and forestry products, says the government. Perhaps more importantly, the housing and construction sector is showing signs of reactivation, with banks lending out RD$4.5 billion for mortgages at a “privileged rate” of 11%. Finally, for the first time in the history of private lending, micro-businesses received RD$1.4 billion worth of financing. 

As part of the IMF agreement, the injection of more than a billion dollars into the local market over the next 12 months will permit an acceleration of the economy.  The economic authorities say that the drop in imports had compensated for the drop in export revenues.

Arab Emirates confirm natural gas plant for Dominican NW

I’m not sure yet what the impact will be of this natural gas plant in the northwest of the Dominican Republic, but I read another article stating the the plant would provide cheaper and more efficient power.  What I read was the cost would be up to three times cheaper.  Though there have been some nay sayers, it does sound like good news to me.  What do you think?  Do you see any possible downside?    


Arab Emirates confirm natural gas plant for Dominican NW

Article provided by Dominican Today, October 6, 2009

Santo Domingo.- President Leonel Fernandez met for more than one hour yesterday with United Arab Emirates Foreign Relations minister, to confirm the start of construction, in the next few days of a modern 600 megawatt natural gas plant in Manzanillo, Montecristi (northwest), at a cost of US$800 million.

The presence of Sheikh Abdallah Binzayid Al Nahyan and the official delegation stems from Fernandez’s visit to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates eight months ago, when he held various meetings.

After the meeting Al Nahyan held a press conference accompanied by his Dominican par Carlos Morales, and firmed the establishment closer relations. The Arab official said his country will also install an embassy in the country, which will serve all of Latin America.

Al Nahyan said he felt impressed with the country’s beauty and with Dominicans and also with its relation with the company that manages the Caucedo Multimodal Port, adding that his nation may also invest in the country’s energy, financial and tourism areas.

$2 billion resort and residential project planned for Samana Peninsula

This newly announced project means more good news for the Samana Peninsula.  Though the project won’t be completed for 20 years, the scope of this project indicates to me that  Samana has a very bright future.  The Samana Peninsula, where Las Terrenas, Samana and Las Galeras are located, has been getting attention from travelers, retirees and investors for many years.  Real Estate appreciation in the area has been as high as 35% per year, averaging about 20% over the last five or six years.  

Cisneros announces his Investments – article supplied by

Venezuelan businessman Gustavo Cisneros has announced plans to build Tropicalia, a resort and residential project in the Samana Bay-Miches area in the east of the DR, with an estimated value of US$485 million. Construction is due to begin in March 2010 and will be completed by 2030, with a further US$1.5 billion investment over that period for a total investment approaching US$2 billion. 

Cisneros spoke of a vision for building a socially responsible tourism venture. He made his announcement during an American Chamber of Commerce luncheon, which was also attended by President Leonel Fernandez.

Cruise ship arrivals up 24% in Dominican Republic

Cruise Ship Boom – article supplied by

“We are talking about a boom in cruise ship visits,” said Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia, speaking at the IFTM/Top Resa 2009 event in Paris. He said numbers show that cruise ship arrivals are up 24%, despite the general lull in travel. 
He said that cruise ship arrivals to the DR have been increasing in the past two years. From 375,000 cruise arrivals in 2007, some 505,000 visitors arrived in 2008, and a greater number is expected by year-end 2009. The Minister predicted that this growth was set to continue, adding that the leading Caribbean cruise ship conference is booked for Santo Domingo in October 2010. The main players in the cruise industry will be visiting the city for The 17th Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (F-CCA) Conference & Trade Show from 25-29 October. 
DR has three main cruise ship ports: Casa de Campo in La Romana, Samana and the Port of Sans Souci in Santo Domingo with its Don Diego and Sans Souci terminals.