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ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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24 REGION AMERICAS Petra

24 REGION AMERICAS Petra Cruz Director of Dominican Republic’s Tourism Ministry for Europe Dominican Republic Drives Sustainability Jamaica to Host UNWTO Conference on Sustainable Tourism Petra Cruz is the director of Dominican Republic’s Tourism Ministry for Europe and is at ITB Berlin to promote the Caribbean Island’s commitment to this year’s sustainability and eco-tourism theme. She started off by telling ITB News Berlin about the Dominican Republic’s rich natural heritage. Edmund Bartlett Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism At ITB Berlin we are presenting the diversity of our wonderful Caribbean Island. The main focus in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development will be on sustainability and eco-tourism. The Dominican Republic offers extreme contrasts with tropical forests, mountains, waterfalls, varied vegetation, intriguing history and rich culture. The beauty of our country has been protected in the form of 30 national parks, reserves, marine sanctuaries and many other resorts that focus on maintaining a healthy relationship with the country’s natural ecosystems. This year we have two special presentations on Friday, March 10, concerning these sustainability topics from Fabian Ritter, a biologist and member of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and Elmar Mai, a biologist and journalist. Among other things, they will showcase the northeast Samaná peninsula, where the highlight is the whale watching season - every year between January and March, up to 5,000 humpback whales migrate to Samaná bay in order to mate and give birth to their calves. How is the broader Dominican Republic travel market performing? The Dominican Republic is the number one long-haul destination in the Caribbean region. Nearly six million tourists visited the Caribbean island in 2016, which is 6.4 percent more than the previous year - the revenue generated by tourism in 2016 amounted to more than six billion euros. Moreover, 55 hotel projects have been realised in the past three years. The guest number increase is, among other things, due to our expanding tourism offer and infrastructure expansion. For example, thanks to the new Boulevard del Atlántico highway on the Samaná peninsula in the northeast of the island, the most important places are connected: Santa Bárbara de Samaná, Las Terrenas, El Limón and Las Galeras. Meanwhile, the new cruise terminal Amber Cove in Puerto Plata, which opened at the end of 2015, ensured the arrival of 121 cruise ships. And due to the strong demand for luxury holidays, many new hotels are opening and being built. For instance, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Santo Domingo will open in late 2017 with 400 luxurious hotel rooms Hall 22b / Stand 209 In November 2017 Jamaica will be at the centre of public debate about change and development in the tourism industry. Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is proud to host the UNWTO, Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism for Development. The conference will be part of the UNWTO’s “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development”. Secretary General of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai shared that the conference will kick-start discussions to create on-the ground activities to develop tourism across the globe from such partnerships. “We keep talking about the need for public-private partnerships, but we fail to translate that on the ground in any effective manner. Minister Bartlett together with Ibrahim Osta,‎ Chief of Party for Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism at Chemonics International, will together cooperate in making and designing this very important meeting in Jamaica towards the end of this year,” said Secretary General Rifai. Hon. Edmund Bartlett added, “We look forward to showcasing our destination but more so within the context of sustainability and the building of public-private partnerships. The event is of great historical importance because it signals the first time that the UNWTO will stage a world conference on tourism in the Caribbean or the Americas overall.” The event will be staged from November 27 to 29 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James Hall 22a / Stand 102 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 10 th March 2017 www.itb-berlin-news.com

AMERICAS REGION 25 Joëlle Desir Director General, Martinique Tourism Committee Austin’s New Hotels Feed Convention Zone Martinique’s New Direct Flights From Munich From surfing to rum, the French Caribbean island now more tempting than ever Speaking to ITB Berlin News, Joëlle Desir, Director General, Martinique Tourism Committee, explained how her team and representatives of the Chamber Of Commerce are using their presence at ITB Berlin 2017 to spread the word about Martinique: “We are an island full of different qualities – authenticity, nature, beaches, culture, people, gastronomy – and we are at ITB Berlin to contact TO & TAs, and mainly to tell the industry that we have a new direct Condor flight from Munich to Fort-de France. This means Germans will no longer have to connect via France. It is important to stress the increasing accessibility of our island – especially as we know Martinique’s varied appeal is full of exactly what the average German likes in a holiday - two weeks, with adventure and nature and sunshine. How would you describe Martinique’s USP? What differentiates us from the other Caribbean islands is our authenticity – we have kept our real identity, our culture and flavour. It is a French island, so you have this mix of cultures, and the French Touch extends to our gastronomy: we have the local root vegetable, the yam, but cooked with French gourmet flair. Across the other islands, the food is usually the same, but on Martinique it is different. The French influence also means our security is very strong. It is an island full of beautiful nature, but also appealing for sport and adventure tourism. We host a major international surfing competition – the Martinique Surf Pro, in April. What kind of accommodation is on offer? We have a range of accommodation options; we have small boutique hotels, Club Med, and larger luxury hotels, but we don’t have the really big all-inclusive hotels like the Dominican Republic – we want our guests to go out of the hotel and meet real authentic people, to sample the island in person, to eat fish with the locals, and visit our distillery making the best rum in the world! Hall 22a / Stand 125 While Austin, Texas is a city known for its music and nightlife, city officials are doing everything they can to make the city a great place for meetings and conventions. According to Julie Chase, VP & CMO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, a large number of new upscale hotel properties are feeding a buzzing central convention and business zone. “The entire area around the hotels is being transformed into what we are calling the innovation zone downtown”, she says. For instance, IHG opened a joint project in Austin in 2016 with the new Indigo hotel on Red River Street on one side, and the Holiday Inn Express on the other. In this vein, the Archer Hotel is a “Texas chic” property located in northwest Austin at Domain Northside, the exciting final phase of this fashion, dining, and nightlife destination. It joins several other high-end hotels in the area. Archer Hotel. In addition, the Fairmont, opening in September 2017, will be the biggest hotel in Austin, with a bridge connecting the property to the convention center. The Hilton will also have a direct connection via bridge, while Marriott will be opening a new hotel in the same zone. The Four Seasons Hotel for its part is going through a full refit. Meanwhile, Condor has announced it will renew direct summer flights from Frankfurt to Austin in 2017, extending its offer by two months – this time beginning in May, as opposed to June, and ending October rather than September. A new terminal is also due to open at Austin Bergstrom airport. “The airport itself is very different from others in the US, as live music has been a distinguishing feature there ever since the ‘Music in the Air’ programme was launched in 1999, just after the airport opened,” says Chase, adding that what started as two performances per week has grown to 23 shows weekly in six different venues throughout the airport Hall 3.1 / Stand 211 HOTEL ROOMS IN AUSTIN (estimated projections) 2016 2017 2018 2019 Downtown 8,568 10,359 10,763 11,725 Citywide 37,041 37,041 37,445 38,407 Real Texas barbecue served at the legendary Ironworks adds to the Austin experience. © Cleverdis ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 10 th March 2017

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