Punta Cana leads the industry

Ernesto Veloz, spokesman for the Association of Hotels and Projects of the East, reaffirmed that Punta Cana is the leading Dominican vacation destination during a presentation to the press at the Dominican Annual Travel Exchange (DATE) held at the Barcelo Convention Center in Punta Cana last week. The area has 27,200 rooms, or 52% of all rooms in the Dominican Republic, and attracted 53% of foreign international arrivals, or 1,750,000 tourists. More than half of the arrivals were from the United States and Canada, followed by Spain, France and Russia.
“Punta Cana is and continues to be the motor of the tourism and economic development of the DR,” said Veloz. He emphasized that while the destination first became known for its fun all-inclusive resorts, the new trend is for the upscaling of the resorts, and remodeling to convert the present properties to four and five star hotels, as well as the opening of luxury, residential & golf developments.
He reminded his audience that seven golf courses are in operation, but there are seven more under construction, of which three should be open by 2009. He also said that another four are on the drawing board. Veloz expects the recently concluded PGA Champions Tour, held at Cap Cana, on the south end of Punta Cana, to successfully project the area among golfers worldwide. He said that the PGA had committed to another two years, and this could turn into three more.
Veloz reported that the Association of Hotels & Projects had just completed a ground reorganization plan, at a cost of US$250,000, for zoning from Juanillo to Uvero Alto.
Veloz expects the 30km boulevard (RD$628 million), which fast-connects the region, to be ready by mid 2009, with the first 22 kms through the Cruce de Friusa ready for this year. The boulevard will be 43km long in total, once the highway is extended to Miches.