Saturday, Dec 16, 2017
Tourism & Culture | North America & Caribbean | Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo. The first city of the new world


5 years ago

Dining al fresco is just one of the many ways to unwind after a busy day of shopping and sightseeing in Santo Domingo
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A collage of cultures and neighborhoods with everything from historic colonial sites to shopping malls makes this a city for all tastes

Tourism has been steadily on the increase in the Dominican Republic since the 1970s, making it the Caribbean nation’s most important industry.
 
With the building of more important resorts on the way, especially by Spanish, Mexican and French investors, the country is looking set to consolidate itself as the leading destination in the Caribbean. 
 
In the past this was traditionally Puerto Rico, and both Cuba and Cancún have long been strong, but it is now the Dominican Republic that boasts the highest number of tourist visitors.
 
With 11 international airports within an area of only 18,700 square miles it is easy to get to, and away from, the Dominican Republic. The biggest of these airports is Punta Cana that brings tourists direct to the beaches and the beautiful coastline in the East of the country. 
 
But visitors can also choose ecotourism in the mountains and enjoy white-water rafting or climbing the nation’s highest peaks such as Pico Duarte. 
 
Music is also a strong part of the national identity and you can expect to hear the sounds of merengue everywhere.
The Dominicans, by their very nature, are warm-hearted and fun loving individuals, and the best place to meet them is in their natural habitat in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital
Whatever you choose on your visit to the Dominican Republic one thing for certain is that the welcome will be warm. The Dominicans, by their very nature, are warm hearted and fun loving individuals, and the best place to meet them is in their natural habitat in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital.
 
Santo Domingo is fast becoming a thriving capital with plenty to offer everybody. All shopping options are covered by the Ágora, Blue Mall, Galeria 360 and Sambil malls, while nightlife, shows and cultural activities are second to none in the capital. 
 
Freddy Ginebra, in his role as President of the Santo Domingo Tourism Cluster, knows more than anybody how the city is developing further its offering to attract a greater share of visitors to the Dominican Republic. 
 
“There is always something to do in this city, we have exhibitions everywhere, the world’s best known artists come here to perform. Without a doubt, you could be here for a week and not find the time to do everything that we have to offer.
 
“There are more than 100 different tourist routes and we are always finding out new things about our own city that even we did not know about. For example, on the new ‘Santo Domingo by night’ trip we make sure our guests try our rum, visit the most popular areas that are full of life, bars and restaurants, even down to a trip to the house of an Italian living here who runs a museum dedicated to Christopher Colombus. 
 
“We also like to show off our cuisine which will surprise many people, we are doing great things,” Mr. Ginebra proudly explains. 
 
He also points out an important project at the San Souci port area where a huge convention center will be housed, plus development work at the other ports, as ways in which the city is looking to develop in the near future. 
Mr. Ginebra is quick to praise the help given by the state to develop tourist activity in the city. 
 
“It has allowed us to do things like give classes to taxi drivers and tourist guides. We all work closely with the hotel owners and attempt to bring together all the parties concerned in tourism in the city. 
 
“We have also made great steps to improve security on the streets, the central Colonial area of the city is being spruced up and the shoreline will be completely transformed,” he adds.
 
On the profile of tourists that the city is looking to attract in the future, Mr. Ginebra has very clear ideas. 
 
“Definitely the Russians, they already come in great numbers and love the sun, our beaches, music and general atmosphere. We’re also targeting the Argentineans and Brazilians,” he confidently claims.

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