The Dominican Republic plans to launch a joint effort between government and hoteliers to classify the country's lodgings, according to tourism minister Felix Jimenez.

The implementation of the National Hotels Classification System is designed "to optimize the international positioning of the Dominican tourism industry," according to Jimenez. A classification system was started in 1991 to establish standards of quality but its replacement "will apply wider criteria," Jimenez said.

A Spanish company has been selected to design the $380,000 system with partial financing from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Evaluations will take up to eight months and will rate lodgings based on size, amenities and environmental sustainability.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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