Since the beginning of the year, Travel Agent has noticed continuing efforts by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to band the islands together as one region. On numerous occasions, we have reported on the efforts of CTO Chairman, Senator Allen Chastanet, and CTO Secretary, General Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, to market the Caribbean as a region instead of promoting each island separately.
The latest collaborative efforts came in the recently reported news that the Dominican Republic and St. Lucia have plans to address the sustainability of the region’s tourism industry following the 2007 World Leadership Awards. Recently, in New York City, Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, the nongovernmental organization that produced the awards ceremony, confirmed that two of the five honorees—President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández, and Senator Chastanet of St. Lucia—are considering a pan-Caribbean tourism strategy to use the region’s multi-billion dollar tourism revenues to combat poverty. Regional marketing, Caribbean competitiveness, carbon footprints and tourism linkages, agreed LeLaulu, are some of the key issues the two leaders are expected to explore in the months ahead. She said that Counterpart International and the Dominican Republic’s Global Foundation for Democracy and Development would be involved in these efforts.
Meanwhile, that small window between announcements of new Dominican Republic developments was abruptly shut recently as Cap Cana, a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic, and Ritz-Carlton announced a partnership that can officially put the stamp of luxury on the region and the exclamation point at the end of a long list of developers who plan on gracing the destination.
Since the beginning of the year, we have brought you constant news of properties opening their doors and of plans to build in the Dominican Republic, whether it was the upcoming Maxim Bungalows, our visit to the grand opening of Agua Resort & Spa in Uvero Alto or the July news of Oasis’ acquisition of four properties.
We first told you about Cap Cana in our March 5 issue of Travel Agent. The luxury resort consists of 30,000 acres of prime Caribbean waterfront.
The two-fold partnership with global powerhouse The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is to develop a world-class luxury resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Cap Cana, and a residential venture known as the Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Cap Cana.
The 220-room resort will feature a range of luxury amenities, including a 16,000-square-foot spa, a private beach club and five restaurants and lounges. The Ritz-Carlton, Cap Cana and the 194 privately owned beachfront and golf residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Cap Cana are scheduled to open in early 2010. Set on the two-mile Juanillo Beach (Cap Cana itself covers 3.4 miles of beaches), the hotel plans to enhance all rooms with balconies and ocean views, incorporating island materials and natural light. Visit www.capcana.com.