A $5 TOURIST
TAX will take effect Nov. 1 in the Dominican Republic for
visitors arriving by air. The tax, which government officials
described as temporary, will be collected by the airlines and
rolled into the price of the airline ticket. Meanwhile, the $10
tourist visa fee, currently collected from air and cruise visitors
upon arrival, continues and will remain separate from the $5 tax,
although an electronic version of the visa will be introduced on
Nov. 1 to help streamline the process. In addition, a $20 departure
tax, which has been collected from visitors departing by air for
more than 20 years, remains unchanged.
JIMENEZ, minister of tourism, said that the revenue from
the $5 tax will be used to shore up the destinations infrastructure
and, in particular, its roads, signage, water treatment systems,
sanitary landfills and beach regeneration programs. Specific
projects will include new restrooms along the coastal areas and new
traffic signals on its roadways. The government estimated that the
new tax would generate close to $22 million a year in revenue on
the basis of arrival figures of 4 million a year. Air arrivals in
the Dominican Republic in 2004 topped 3.5 million; from January
through July of this year, the numbers increased 7.75%, and Jimenez
predicted a 10% overall increase by years end.
INNOVATE are the themes this fall at several Sandals and
Beaches resorts. Sandal's Dunn's River Golf Resort & Spa in
Ocho Rios, Jamaica, is closed through Dec. 18 to complete the final
phase of its $14 million renovation project that will include a
redesigned lobby, upgraded rooms in three categories and the debut
of the Red Lane Spa. Sandals Inn in Montego Bay, Jamaica,
meanwhile, will close for refurbishing from Sept. 5 to Dec. 18. In
addition, also closing Sept. 5 is Beaches Sandy Bay in Negril,
Jamaica, which reopens Oct. 5. Details on the refurbishments are
still to come. A $65 million program to create a 180-suite
Mediterranean Village at Sandals Antigua Caribbean Village &
Spa will be completed in November 2006; and Beaches Turks &
Caicos in Providenciales is adding 168 family suites featuring
separate rooms with bunk beds and Xbox consoles for kids and
sitting rooms and Jacuzzi tubs for parents at its new Italian
Village. No opening date for the addition has yet been set. For
details, visit www.sandals.com and www.beaches.com.
Vacations WinterSun tradeshows, Sept. 19 to 29, various
eastern U.S. cities. Newark, NJ, Sept. 19; Woodbury, N.Y., Sept.
20; Philadelphia, Sept. 22; Baltimore, Sept. 26; Cleveland, Sept.
28; and Pittsburgh, Sept. 29. For details, visit http://travelagents.applevacations.com.
" First annual
Curacao Cuisine, Culture and Heritage Festival, through
Oct. 15, Willemstad. Special rates at nine art galleries, 12
museums and 20 restaurants, plus a complimentary walking tour
Tuesday mornings, and a $200 air fare
credit on stays of five or more nights at participating hotels. For
details, visit www.curacao-event.com.