Program to renovate 5 area beaches

SANTO DOMINGO -- The Dominican Republic may be the home of some of Major League Baseball's best players, but its beaches also have been known to hit home runs with visitors.

A $13 million initiative will improve beaches along the north and south coasts of Dominican Republic, including Monte Cristi, Puerto Plata, Cabarete, Juan Dolio and Barahona. Now a number of the country's beaches are about to get even better. The new millennium will bring a new look for five Dominican Republic beaches, under an extensive beach conservation initiative valued at more than $13 million.

The beaches in the program are Monte Cristi, Puerto Plata, Cabarete, Juan Dolio and Barahona. The conservation project is designed to beautify the beaches and add amenities and facilities to make them more attractive for both visitors and residents. All of the beaches in the program are located along the country's north and south coasts.

The initiative also includes a plan to renovate a number of unoccupied homes along the coasts into Victorian-style inns for visitors.

In addition, Felix Jimenez, the country's secretary of tourism, is working with operators of small hotels in the area to classify each of their properties for visitors, travel agents and tour operators.

"The classification system will make it easier for visitors to know exactly what category of hotel to expect," said Jimenez.

Jimenez said he has received the cooperation of a number of small hotels in the affected areas. The entire project is set for completion by summer 2000.

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