Once the first and foremost tourist destination of the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic, the province of Puerto Plata had seen a rise and fall like no other location in the DR. Now, with a new elected president in office, and after 20 years of being the underdog of the tourism industry, this old city and its beach resort towns are slowly seeing a rebirth that is sure to bring it back to its past splendor and status as the first Spanish settlement of the New World ( Christopher Columbus, October 12th, 1492 ) now with a much modern twist.
Carnival Cruises will hub its vessels from Maimon Bay, Puerto Plata
The new Cruise Ship Hub in the Caribbean
Puerto Plata`s road to recovery began with the announcement by Carnival Cruise Lines, of a new cruise ship port to be built in the Maimon Bay, that promises to bring half a million tourists in its first year of operation, set to begin on late 2014. The positive economic impact on the region will be significant, as many travelers that can`t board from Miami will use the local POP airport to come board from here; use local transportation and more important, the local produce that will supply a large number of vessels traveling through this new hub.
The Wider Highway
President Danilo Medina has promised to begin work on the Santiago- Puerto Plata highway to make it wider and better, a crucial aspect of the plan to draw more visitors to the North Coast ( Santiago`s STI airport is a major hub in the Central Cibao region ). Local representatives and business people have tried to persuade past presidents unsuccessfully and now it seems that finally Medina agreed to include it in the country`s annual budget.
Local Representative Jose Paliza pushed the agenda on the highway
The new Riviera Azul
A group of investors recently inaugurated a new resort in Playa Dorada, called Riviera Azul. President Danilo Medina led the inauguration of the first phase of the project, as part of government policy to support the country’s tourism development. The complex will consist of three stages with a total of 180 apartments and a total investment of about 100 million, with approximate 44.000 meters of land, 350 meters beach and several green areas, swimming pools, tennis courts , basketball and other sports. This first stage is the delivery of two buildings of three stories each , with a total of 75 apartments of one, two and three rooms with sea view, pool or golf course from all units, all built with top quality.
President Medina led the opening of the Riviera Azul
Tourist Development Program will boost investment to Puerto Plata`s municipalities
President Danilo Medina submitted a draft to the senate, amending the Law for the Promotion of Tourism to, among other objectives , grant exemptions for investments in existing and future structures in the tourism sector to benefit from the 100% exemption from import duties and other charges applicable to machinery, equipment , materials and property. The head of state means that the project aims to bring tax incentives established by Law 158-01 to levels that allow constant development of the tourism sector and attract investment from local businesses, foreign and multinational.
This will result in a direct boost of support for new investments in Sosua, Cabarete, Costambar, Cofresi and other important locations of the North Coast. These regions are influential in the development of housing projects, and are already a known villa and condo rental destination for North Americans and Europeans.
The large Supermarket Chains
La Sirena, one of the largest supermarket chains in the Dominican Republic, set foot in Puerto Plata 2 years ago and now has started construction of their flagship Super Pola in Sosua. Housing developments in this beach town keeps growing despite the world`s economy, and projects like Casa Linda and Hispaniola ( mid range priced homes ) keep growing each year, adding new and more modern vacation villas. It is this market of foreign-owned luxury homes that attract big players like the Ramos Group, owner of the Super Pola and La Sirena franchises.
The new Super Pola will bring a new level of service to Sosua
Reorganization of Sosua Beach
A jewel that stands apart in the universe of beaches in the North coast, Sosua beach has often been criticized for its excessive number of informal vendors and shanty stores, half of which are not in good condition, or closed. The Tourism director for the North Coast announced a plan to build a plaza and reorganize the beach to make it better for visitors. Rumor has it that the land between the road and the beach in Sosua will see a large development resort, long overdue due to its high value potential.
Sosua beach will be reorganized to make it better for visitors
“On the beach of Sosua there are 242 vendors, and the same number of modules or cubicles will be built for relocation”, said Mr. Lorenzo Sancasani. To add: “With the construction of the square we seek to unclutter the beach of Sosua, improve quality of life and the vendors themselves.” Meanwhile the mayor of the Municipality of Sosua, Ilana Newman, favored the construction of the Plaza of the Seller by the Ministry of Tourism, and understand that the project works for the benefit of the beach vendors and the community.
New Flights for newly remodeled POP Airport
The provincial director of tourism for the North, Lorenzo Sancassani, reported that he`s in talks with Caravelle, a major European tour operator that could bring 2 new flights to Puerto Plata. He said he has traveled to Brazil and Argentina in search of new flights and connections with tour operators, “and the interest is more active, there is enough interest in Puerto Plata”. Mr. Sancassani reported that the start with Caravelle in early next year could bring 600,000 tourists to that destination, which will increase to about two million when the new Cruise ship port opens at the end of 2014.
POP airport serves the entire North Coast of the Dominican Republic
The Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia announced that in the coming months there will be an increase in flights from Europe , Miami and Puerto Rico to Puerto Plata as part of its efforts to increase arrivals to the North. He said that beginning in June Air Europa will include an additional weekly flight from Madrid to Puerto Plata on an aircraft with a capacity to transport 300 passengers. He added that similar actions will be taken by other airlines from Miami and Puerto Rico, as part of the steps to follow so that the province of Puerto Plata returns as one of the main destinations of the country.