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ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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38 REGION AMERICAS ©

38 REGION AMERICAS © Anton Bielousov.jpg © Joe de Sousa San Lorenzo bay, Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic Caribbean Sunset, Bavaro, Dominican Republic It’s All About Variety History, pristine beaches and golf make Dominican Republic a perfect family destination It has been a long time - 524 years exactly - since the first-ever foreign “visitor” set foot on the future Dominican Republic. They might have just been a few dozen accompanying Christopher Colombus but they gave fame at that time to the island. Last year, according to first data from the Dominican Republic central bank, some 4.83 million foreign travellers came to the shores of the island, an increase by 8.25% over the previous year. The top markets were the USA with 2.01 million visitors followed by South Americans who generated almost 700,000 of all arrivals last year. The Dominican Republic’s tourism success relies on the great variety of the tourism product. The island is a perfect destination for families. The area around Puerto Plata has been turned into a popular international destination, accounting for most of the country’s arrivals. Puerto Plata airport welcomed 3.19 million foreign travellers last year mostly attracted by the beaches of surrounding seaside resort destinations such as Luperón, Maimón, Cofresí, Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada. However, the Island is more than just Puerto Plata. Cultural aficionados will definitely want to look at Santo Domingo, the capital and oldest city in the New World. Santo Domingo still bears the legacy of colonial times as its old town retained 32 historical cobble stone streets lined with Spanish colonial houses - some dating as far as the early 17th century. Santo Domingo was inscribed in 1990 on UNESCO World Heritage list due to its fascinating history. According to the international institution, Santo Domingo offers a unique cultural experience as the settlement was the first permanent establishment in the New World as the capital of the West Indies. The only European city which dates back to the 15th century in the Americas, Santo Domingo became the place of departure for the spread of European culture and the conquest of the entire American continent. Santo Domingo is not only about history. It has gained a reputation of being a funloving place with many restaurants, an attractive nightlife, particularly to meet people around the Island’s iconic dance Merengue, dubbed to come originally from the enslaved labourers working in sugar beet fields. A PARADISE FOR GOLFERS Another trump to the destination is golf. The Island’s reputation of being one of the best golf destinations around the world was confirmed last October when the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) named Dominican Republic “Golf Destination of the year Latin America and Caribbean 2016,” in recognition of the 28 courses available on the island. This was the third time the Dominican Republic has been recognised by IAGTO as an exceptional destination for the sport. “Dominican Republic is delighted to receive this award once again from such a prestigious organisation,” said during the ceremony Isabel Vasquez, director of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) for the Iberian Peninsula. “This award speaks to our unrelenting commitment to provide both the infrastructure and first class services in our hotels and golf courses in order to maintain the loyalty and happiness of international players. With 28 courses, we have the largest offerings in all Latin America and the Caribbean.” Golf tourism’s contribution to the Dominican economy is estimated at over US0 million annually – a figure that is projected to increase over the next year, according to a study by IAGTO North America. In 2014, over 140,000 golfers visited the Dominican Republic only to play their favourite sport. The island is home to some of the most dramatic and spectacular golf courses in the world designed by legends such as Pete Dye, PB Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones, Gary Player and Tom Fazio. Among these are Punta Espada Golf Club in Cap Cana, La Cana at Puntacana Resort & Club, Teeth of the Dog and Dye Fore at Casa de Campo, each featuring stunning views and unique challenges carefully crafted by the best designers in the golf world. Hall 3.1 / Stand 131 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016 www.itb-berlin-news.com

© Thomas Keller HOSPITALITY / RESTAURANTS / BARS WHERE TO GO IN Berlin CLUBS / EVENTS / SHOPPING / CULTURE A City Like No Other Joachim E. Thomas is the CEO of the Spy Museum Berlin, which offers a fascinating journey through decades of spying and espionage – from surveillance cameras mounted on pigeons during World War I to Cold War secret agents and the controversial monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone by the NSA. Opened in the German capital in September 2015, the museum is a compelling addition to a dynamic city that Thomas promises is unlike any other. Joachim E. Thomas CEO, Spy Museum Berlin Berlin is the most exciting city in the world. There is perpetual movement, perpetual development, perpetual change. It is very multicultural and is full of excitement and energy, while the cultural scene is extremely interesting. Not only contemporary culture but history and a vast array of museums and theatres. Compared to other cities in Germany, and perhaps internationally, Berlin is a major world city that also offers a great life and work balance. It is also a very green city with many lakes and recreational opportunities. Berlin is unique. Apart from the Spy Museum Berlin, what other attractions do you recommend? There is always something to recommend to new visitors to Berlin. To understand the history of the division and unification of the city, you can visit the Wall Museum at Bernauer Strasse. In addition to the Spy Museum on Leipziger Strasse, visitors can specifically explore Berlin’s Cold War history at the Stasi Museum at BERLIN IS A MAJOR WORLD CITY THAT ALSO OFFERS A GREAT LIFE AND WORK BALANCE Norman Strasse, where the remains of the feared Stasi prisons leave a deep impression. I would also recommend some of the major tourist museums like the Pergamon Museum (ancient Middle Eastern artifacts) or the Bode Museum (mainly Byzantine art and sculptures), or visiting architectural sites like the original Olympic Stadium where the 1936 Olympic Games were held. Any other tips for those visiting Berlin for the first time? Take your time. Travel by foot or bicycle – or even a Segway. Open yourself up to the city. And most certainly visit the neighbourhoods in the old East Berlin, like in Friedrichshain around Frankfurter Tor where you can see some unique GDR architecture. In general, don’t just travel the usual tourist trail but take in the atmosphere and feel free to adventure. ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

ITB Berlin News