When planning a trip to a Caribbean destination, close to 90% of travelers take some time to research into the available offers from tour operators, travel guides, friend referrals, and other online sources that provide information through travel review sites, forums and specialized sites. In a competitive industry such as travel and tourism , it is expected that some destinations become affected adversely by the success of others, thus creating a market for PR attacks and negative campaigns if the competing destination has no creativity to compete in a fair way.
The Dominican Republic has been the victim of such PR attacks since more than 2 decades ago when it began to compete in the international market for all inclusive tourists that began in the city of Puerto Plata and later expanded dramatically to the Bavaro-Punta Cana areas. It is common to read online and printed reviews about inflated crime figures, poor roads, warnings about leaving the hotel zones and other misleading data that luckily some tourists double check before considering and yet after all this bad publicity the Dominican Republic still gets around 2 million visitors each year and statistics show growth, though modest due to the misleading bad PR. New York is a top world destination, and has a exceedingly high crime rate... compare that to all tourists areas of the DR combined and you`ll have all New Yorkers coming to live here.
About 50% of the bad PR goes towards the island, something that clearly shows that the false advertising comes from other competing islands, including Mexico according to published news citing DR government officials. The rest of the misleading reviews are directly aimed at the first tourist destination of the island, the North coast. Although Puerto Plata suffered when Punta Cana and Bavaro started to lobby government officials to get the bigger and eventually the whole advertising and infrastructure budget from the government, still the city retains its much higher value with a superior natural beauty and appeal – There`s no better ecofriendly and varied tourism offer than Puerto Plata, including Sosua, Cofresi, Cabarete and Costambar. Nearby Cabrera is also considered part of the extended package, with amazing places to visit.
The diversity of environments and natural and cultural attractions makes the Dominican Republic one of the top in the Caribbean.
It`s no wonder that most of the all-inclusive tourism belongs to the East of the island, which has row after row of beach resorts packed next to each other. For a weekend of beach and sun it sounds fantastic. Then there`s a more complete type of tourism that involves cultural, ecofriendly travel that takes the visitor to a wide range of tours including towns and beaches not set inside the seclusion of a resort. Puerto Plata has all that, including the largest self catering vacation rental market in the island. Another interesting factor that misleads visitors is the claim by tour operators and some beach resorts that venturing outside resorts boundaries is too dangerous, which they do because of some interesting reasons, being the main two that they want tourists to spend their dollars in the resort stores and restaurants, and the operators want to minimize losses on travel insurance if used.
Compared to other destinations (e.g. Jamaica and Mexico) the island of Dominican Republic is far less dangerous, and most crime cases can be traced back to irresponsible lifestyles related to drugs and sex for pay. Small towns such as Sosua in the North coast have seen quick change after the new major took over office, although to some it`s been too quick too hard ( some bars and restaurants complained ). In the world of advertising , perception is everything. 2012 presidential elections will be a good arena to present plans and demand change, since the current administration has failed to make tourism grow in the Dominican Republic as everyone expected in a long 8 year government.
As a vacation rental agency, we`re doing a research among our clients and found that none has reported high levels of violence as advertised . We will be soon publishing the full report with some interviews to local law enforcement officials, and the result will astound many. When we compared the data with other destinations it`s incredible that they want to splatter their bad numbers on our face instead of being honest to the public.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: A RICH CARIBBEAN DIVERSITY TO BE DISCOVERED
1 .- BIODIVERSITY: The Dominican Republic ranks first in biodiversity in the Antilles, as well as taking third in the world in biodiversity of the island, in proportion to its territory. It has the largest geomorphological diversity-reliefs represented by three mountain ranges, five saws, three regions kársicas or limestone, four coastal plains, four valleys, more than fifteen mountain valleys and tectonic depressions.
2.-VARIED LIFE:There exists as many areas of life, determined by altitude, as their attention spans from 45 feet below sea level on Lake Enriquillo and Cabritos Island to 3,087 meters above sea level in the Pico Duarte.
3.-DUARTE PEAK is the highest of the Antilles, Pico Duarte, with 3.087 meters. And the deepest tectonic depression of the Antilles, the Hoya Enriquillo, 45 meters below sea level.
4 .- The ENRIQUILLO LAKE is the largest hypersaline lake in the Antilles, with 240 to 260 square kilometers and still growing. We have the western pine-conifer-largest ground limestone of calcareous origin, in the land of Bahoruco. This species grows in acid soils, this being an ecological rarity in the world.
5 .- EXCLUSIVE SPECIES:Perhaps we also have the highest endemism in the Antilles, approximately 39% or more. We have the highest plateau of the West Indies, New Valley, located 2,200 meters above sea level.
6 .- ENVIRONMENTS: It is the only area of the West Indies where there is vegetation and Andean alpine type, the New Valley. It is the largest waterfall in free fall height of the Caribbean, Salto de Aguas Blancas Constance, with two waterfalls of 83 meters. Can also be the highest altitude is around 1,800 meters.
7 .- CAVES: We have the largest number of caves in the West Indies. We have the largest number of cave pictographs in one room, more than 1,700, in the cavern of José María del Parque Nacional del Este. The country has the largest number of rock art in the West Indies.
8 .- VALLEYS: There are mountain valleys located at higher elevations of the West Indies, Bao Valley, about 1,800 meters above sea level. Here we have recorded the lowest temperatures of the West Indies, 8 degrees Celsius in the area of Pico Duarte and the valley's intromontano Bao.
9 .- ICE: is the only place in the West Indies where there was ice: New Valley and the mountain valleys of Bao and rucksack, all located in the Cordillera Central.
10 .- HAITISES: We have the kársica-limestone region of Los Haitises, most impressive of the West Indies, covering an area of 1.600 square kilometers Haitises-formations-conical mountains, hills, valleys, sinking micro-caves, rivers underground and a rainforest. Much of this is a National Park.
11 .- HUMPBACK WHALES: There is more visits of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, in the Caribbean Sea for reproduction, between the months of January through March, the banks of the Plata and Navidad ,and at the Samana Bay. They come every year an average of three thousand -3.000 - constituting a invaluable spectacle for ecotourism. This generates more than 20,000 eco-tourists and scientists who come each year to Samana, turning it into a major ecotourism destination.
12. THE FIRST ONES: The Dominican Republic has a record of firsts, since it was the place where the first Spanish settlement, church, city, university and many other important institutions were created. Christopher Columbus found the New World in La Isabela, Puerto Plata in October 12, 1492. Still, the Colonial city in Santo Domingo has most homes, churches and important buildings as they were more than 500 years ago including Columbus house and its furnishings and beds.
13. BEACHES: Endless kilometers of beaches, golden sand in the North and white sand in the East. Spanning a large part of the island shores, there`s beaches virtually in every coastal town of this blesses Caribbean island. Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Cabarete, Sosua, Boca Chica, Juan Dolio, Guayacanes, La Romana, Bavaro, Arena Gorda, Samana, Cabrera, Rio San Juan, Barahona, to mention just a few.
There`s so much more about the island, it might take forever to put it all in writing, much less in graphics ( our long term goal ).
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