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D.A.T.E. 2007: New Luxury Resorts and Expansions

April 23, 2007 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent

—On the way to a fam trip at the
Agua Resort and Spa in Uvero Alto prior to the Dominican Annual Tourism
Exchange (D.A.T.E.) 2007, held April 12-14 in Punta Cana, Travel Agent
noticed miles of virgin land. The
sign welcoming delegates to the show

When the floor opened at the Barcelo Bavaro Convention
several days later, we learned that if the extensions
of existing hotels and quick construction of non-all-inclusive, luxury resorts
in the Dominican Republic
continue, that land will soon be occupied.

From the many of the estimated 100 suppliers and wholesalers
whom we spoke with during the two-day tourism exchange, we discovered there is
both a growing trend in non all-inclusive properties aimed at the luxury client
as well as expansions of existing properties.

"I think it was excellent; every year is better than
the last," says Ivan Santana, sales manager and e-commerce director for Sivory
Punta Cana
, a 55-suite luxury resort, one of many non all-inclusive
properties that are making waves in the Dominican Republic.

"I think (luxury resorts) are getting big now because
they had to take some time to be able to establish this product. Now that many
people are coming to Punta Cana year after year, I think a lot of hoteliers are
seeing the potential for luxury products," he remarks.

"Punta Cana really started to grow in the '90s. It
started to get really strong in the last few years, strong enough where the
upscale concept, the luxury market, is the next big thing here," says
Domingo Aznar, director of sales for Excellence Punta Cana, a 452-room
property that caters to couples.

New Hotel and Casino Ventures

News coming from press conferences over the course of the
show include Amhsa Marina Hotels & Resorts' announcements of the
extension of its supply in Bavaro, with 150 new rooms, in both Las Galeres and

A Hertz representative discusses her product at the Dominican Republic's tourism showcase

The company also discussed a "real estate tourism"
project that will include 48 apartments. For the existing hotel in Samana, 230
rooms will be added. Meanwhile, the hotel Casa Marina Bay of Las Galeras will
be taken from 334 to 564 rooms and the Club at Gran Paradise Bavaro will go
from 228 to 378 rooms. Visit

Casino Dominicus announced it would open by
mid-summer, unveiling a gaming experience that will feature an exclusive
Players Club, which it claims will have some of the highest gambling limits in
the nation. Open seven days a week, the casino will have 23 table games.
Situated between La Romana and Bayahibe, the tropical-style casino will be
about 15 minutes away from La Romana International Airport. Visit

Like most tourism conferences and trade shows, the first day
was the busiest. "The first day was great and the second was very quiet,
the same as it is with every show," says Gwenn Feliciano, director of
wholesale sales for Superclubs' Breezes Resorts. "But all in all,
it was great show."

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