President Danilo Medina met yesterday with executives from the Royal Caribbean cruise line, aboard the "Explorer of the Seas" ship docked in Samana, where the head of state traveled by helicopter and whose visit had access only for the official press . In the interest of promoting and boost cruise tourism, the Dominican president accepted the invitation of Royal Caribbean, whose vice president, Michael Ronan, presented the deployment strategy that will continue in the coming years and provides for the possibility of increasing cruise ship arrivals to that area.
In his presentation, Michael Ronan expressed the readiness of Royal Caribbean to work with the Dominican authorities in the necessary transformation of Samaná, so that it is able to receive arriving cruise passengers by providing better transport services, information, infrastructure, road safety and organization, among others, especially individual tourists, who do not buy excursions.
"I want to work so they can bring more tourists and more people to benefit from tourism," said President Medina, saying that the Dominican government will do whatever is necessary to support cruise tourism turn the Dominican Republic into a main Caribbean cruise terminal. At the meeting, Federico Schad, from Bahia Cruise Services, offered details of a project to build a new dock in an area of 50,000 square meters next to the existing pier, which would provide more infrastructure facilities, better services and better views to cruise passengers visiting Samana and would be operational for the 2013-2014 season.
Schad said that it could take advantage of the cruise market that operates year-round, especially from the U.S. East Coast, allowing Samaná compete with other ports in the Caribbean, receiving between 800,000 and one million cruise passengers to year.
In another effort to make tourism the engine of national development, President Medina reaffirmed the government's support and detailed project plans, and requested a full presentation of all these initiatives, to be channeled through the corresponding authorities.
At the meeting, President Medina also heard Samana`s mayor Miguel Bezi, and Rafael Blanco, president of the Tourism Cluster of the area, who spoke about the shortcomings of the province and its possible solutions. White spoke of the need to work for a comprehensive tourism system that takes into account the community, to guarantee the sustainability of the investments made in the sector.
After the meeting, Michael Ronen gave out information materials and a souvenir to President Medina, who was subsequently shown the cockpit, where he was received by the captain of the ship. Later they had lunch with Royal Caribbean executives, administration officials and provincial and municipal authorities. President Medina was accompanied by the presidency ministers, José Ramón Peralta, from Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia, and Public Works, Gonzalo Castillo. Also, the provincial governor, Lalane Enriquillo and the Dominican Port Authority director, Ramon Rivas.
Author`s note: Last year, Ex president Leonel Fernandez announced plans for a new cruise ship dock to be built in Luperon Bay, Puerto Plata by Carnival Cruise Lines, a competitor of Royal Caribbean. If both ports are built, the Northern coastal areas of Cabarete, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cofresi, Costambar, Cabrera and Samana will see close to 2 million tourists and a booming economy with subsequent higher sales and rentals of real estate properties and new hotels. The area is a prime location offering luxury villas and condos to retirees and investors from all over the world.
Press release in Spanish from the presidency of the Dominican Republic
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