New internet service for travel agents
The POP Report has launched a new bulletin board enabling travel agents to connect directly with local travel service providers. Click for story
How to privatize Fort San Felipe?
Applying private capital to animating Puerto Plata's Fort San Felipe is a good idea, but who should get the gravy? Speculation has it that current politicians are trying to push the plan through before elections this year, but the President has put a halt to anything other than dialogue. Read about it in our News Briefs below, read our opinion, and send us yours. Click to go
POP's lighthouse on top 100 list
El Faro, Puerto Plata's Lighthouse, is considered by the World Monuments Fund to be on the Top 100 List of Endangered Monuments Click to go
Costambar Mission School gets a library
The Costambar Mission School has become one of the few public schools in the region equipped with a library, the result of yet another year of effort by Robin and Don Morse, a retired couple from Rhode Island who spend their winters in Puerto Plata. Read their latest newsletter.
Dominican Republic Airports
A new airport fact sheet has been included in The POP Report to provide pilots with technical data for flying in to the Dominican Republic. Click to go
Fact Sheet now on The POP Report
A new feature has been added to the POP Report to provide an overview of the Dominican Republic as a tourist destination. Includes tourism offices, airlines, fast facts and more. Click to go
POSTED 08 FEB 2000
New internet service brings
travel agents and local travel providers together
The POP Report, Puerto Plata’s most active travel related web site, recently launched a bulletin board that enables travel agents to connect directly with local travel service providers free of charge.
Travel agents around the world can use this bulletin board to post requests for specific accommodations, ground handling services, group services, national flights and car rental, local sports and alternative travel services. Local providers who visit the board regularly can post responses or reply by e-mail. “This can be a very useful service for the American market where travel agents are the essential link to the consumer” says POP Report publisher Tim Hall, “and it can help everyone in the Dominican Republic, from B&B’s to 5-star resorts to ecotourism programs to expose their product to whoever is looking for it.”
Any local service provider can use the bulletin board free of charge simply by registering on the board’s title page, he says. He also added his request for assistance in publicizing the bulletin board’s existence.
Restricted to travel industry professionals, all users of The Travel Agents Bulletin Board must register by e-mail and obtain a password. The POP Report also features a Public Message Board for general public enquiries. The POP Report currently receives some 6000 visits per month. Click to visit The Travel Agents Bulletin Board
POSTED 30 JAN 2000
President halts privatization of Fort San Felipe
President Leonel Fernandez has instructed Minister of Tourism Felix Jimenez to halt any procedures pertaining to the privatization of the ruins surrounding Puerto Plata’s Fort San Felipe. This move forces the issue into a process of dialog that will involve the many jurisdictions and local interests that lay claim to the idea. For the last year or so, the idea of animating this site with retail outlets such as restaurants, bars and gift shops has been flying around, along with speculation that current politicians in power and their friends will end up with the concessions. Fort San Felipe is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Puerto Plata, situated on a point overlooking the harbor. It is surrounded by park area and within the walls that surround the original historical site there are a number of buildings that were never renovated yet hold potential for retail applications that would indeed help to animate this important historical zone. The question is, who should get it? A number of government bodies have jurisdiction over the fort area, including the Office of Cultural Patrimony, the Commission of Monuments, the Ministry of Tourism and probably the national navy which controls the coast line, and others. Meanwhile, influence will be applied by whatever political party is in power, and this may change in the Year 2000. Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez has expressed the opinion that these monuments should undergo a restoration process achieved through international assistance. While this may be a good idea, thought of leaving such monuments in the hands of a government bureaucracy may condemn them to lethargy. Meanwhile there is definite appeal in the idea of using private initiative to stimulate and pay to preserve such a point of interest in Puerto Plata’s tourism sector, however political interests can, if not prolong perhaps doom a damn good idea. Our idea is, that given the hemispheric historical significance of this zone, perhaps a delegation established through the Organization of American States (OAS) can be reunited to conceptualize an optimal resource use plan, to be followed up by a public auction. Perhaps this would take the issue above and beyond the political arena, and set it on an even and optimal footing. We invite your comments, in writing to the firstname.lastname@example.org
El Faro: Puerto Plata's Lighthouse
on the Top 100 list of endangered monuments
From the moment the Puerto Plata lighthouse was first lit on September 9, 1879, ships on the Atlantic ocean came to rely on its bright beacon. Employing a novel revolving light and shadow system fueled by kerosene, the light source symbolized the city's industrial progress. The 24.4-meter-high, 6.2-meter-diameter tower is a melding of neoclassical style with industrial construction. Classical-inspired columns, bracketed by prosaic I-beams, support a delicately rendered octagonal cast-iron cupola. General maintenance on the lighthouse was last performed in 1979. Its coiling interior staircase has completely disappeared while constant exposure to hurricanes, cyclones, and salt air has resulted in severe corrosion of remaining surfaces. Puerto Plata is located within a national park and adjacent to the city's sixteenth-century walls and the San Felipe fortress museum, which are designated collectively as national monuments. Given a proper restoration ofthe component parts, it is hoped that the rare cast-iron lighthouse, one of the few still standing in the Americas, will also achieve recognition as a monument of national importance. The Puerto Plata Lighthouse is on the top 100 list of the: The World Monuments Fund
Centro Medico Bournigal expands
Last week José Natalio Redondo, director of Centro Médico Bournigal in Puerto Plata, announced the imminent opening of a new emergency ward with facilities that will include ‘hours long’ observation and care services for patients who would otherwise have to be interned overnight. Also included in the $9 million peso expansion are a new emergency access ramp, eight new private suites for a total of 76 beds, and a refrigerated morgue, Puerto Plata’s first.
Santiago International Airport a mistake, says businessman
Prominent Puerto Plata businessman Chichi Redondo last week condemned President Leonel Fernandez’ approval of an international airport to be built in Licey del Medio, to serve Santiago. He pointed out that the ecological and agricultural consequences and the proximity of Puerto Plata’s airport add up to making this an unsound and unnecessary project, projected to cost $30 million dollars. He criticized the President’s having bowed to the pressures of influential people in Santiago.
POSTED 10 DEC 1999
Memorial Ceremony to be held for David Salem
A ceremony will be held this Sunday, December 12th, in memory of David Salem. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. at Puerto Plata Beach Resort. David, a long time resident of Puerto Plata and British Honorary Consul, died on October 17th at Basingstoke Hospital in England.
POSTED 28 NOV 99
Six-buck funicular fee is fair, says sub-sec
Tourism sub-secretary Cezar De Los Santos found himself defending the new 100-peso, or US$6.00, fee charged to ride the cable car and visit the botanical gardens on the summit of Mt. Isabel de Torres. The cable car was finally re-opened early November after a control box fire shut it down five years ago. Administration is now under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism and the ticket price has jumped from 20 to 100 pesos, with children paying half price. De Los Santos explained that for the first time ever the cable car has to be self-sustaining. It has never in the past paid its own electric bill before, and it will now carry full-blown insurance coverage. He added that local tour organizers have not objected to the fee, as long as it results in adequate services and personnel. He described the charge as well in line with other attractions such as Columbus Water Park where the entrance fee is $150 to $200.
Importer arrested in Miami for Customs fraud
American authorities cooperating with Dominican Customs authorities arrested and extradited a Santiago importer last week in Miami for cheating on import duties at Puerto Plata International Airport. He was fined one million pesos. A Customs auditor and one supervisor involved with him were fired from their jobs
POSTED 21 NOV 99
De Los Santos invites interest in Fortaleza project
Sub-secretary of tourism Cezar De Los Santos invited the business community’s interest in the rehabilitation of the Fort San FeliPe, at the end of the Malecon in Puerto Plata. He announced that architect Juan Diego Vasquez has presented a master plan that includes the restoration of the lighthouse as well as museums and commercial buildings that would revive the entire park area all the way from Poza del Castillo to the fortress.
Repratriations of Haitians slows construction
The massive repatriation of undocumented Haitians has paralyzed work on many public and private construction projects, where only Dominican workers can be seen these days. Over the last week military patrols have been driving around in vans and picking up Haitians, many of whom came to the DR to work in government cane fields but moved on to better paying jobs in construction. And while the Ministry of the Armed Forces has issued strict instructions concerning the proper treatment of those detained, Haitian community organizations call the repatriations both abusive and indiscriminate.
Balaguer followers want former mayor and governess out
According to Kenia Serrata de Diaz, a former provincial deputy and strong supporter of the presidential candidacy of Joaquin Balaguer, the only way that the Reformist party can reunify is if two people resign from their party positions. She is referring to Puerto Plata’s former mayor, Carlos Troche, and former Governor Rafaela Monegro. According to another ex-mayor and supporter of Serrata, Juan Jose Ortiz, there are many people you wish to join the movement known as “Balaguer – once again by necessity” on the condition that these two party stalwarts resign from their party positions.
11-year rape victim gives birth, father accuses stepfather
The father of a Sosua girl who was raped at age ten – and recently gave birth to a healthy child – has accused the mother’s current husband of the act. Last week, Eladio Cims accused Martin Hernandez of the act, saying that the child was forced into sexual relations by her stepfather under the threat of death. However both the child and her mother deny the accusation, saying that it was committed by a man from Jamao al Norte. “At no time did my stepfather ever threaten me,” says the girl. “The man who raped me is named Fausto. He gave me a ride to school in a white car and forced me to have sex with him.” She explained that Fausto raped her again, after she accepted another ride, this time in a gray car, only to realize too late that it was the same man. “I have never had sexual relations with anyone else, much less my godfather, who loves me and treats me like his own daughter,” she said.
POSTED 19 NOV 99
Invitation to remember Sandy Daube
Friends of Sandy Daube will meet for an informal remembrance gathering on Sunday, November 21st at 10:30 a.m. for about one hour. Anyone who wishes to say something is welcome to do so. Sandy, proprietor of Sandy Beaches Bar in Costambar, died suddenly of a heart attack on November 6th. More information: 970-7966.
Old News: Stuff we keep even though it's old because it's either funny or interesting
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