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    Tourism Cluster of Puerto Plata Held Tourism Forum Under the Theme Diversification of the Hotel Offer
    Tourism Cluster of Puerto Plata Held Tourism Forum Under the Theme Diversification of the Hotel Offer

    Tourism Cluster of Puerto Plata Held Tourism Forum Under the Theme Diversification of the Hotel Offer
    Santo Domingo, 22 de Abril de 2015

    The second university forum on Tourism, organized by the Tourism Cluster of the Puerto Plata destination, was held last Friday with the support of the CNC Project “Strengthening the Tools of Tourism Competitiveness.” The theme of the forum was “Diversification of the Hotel Offer.”

    The event was held at the Universidad Dominicana Organización y Métodos (O&M), and included the participation of renowned professionals of the tourism and hospitality industry of the province of Puerto Plata. Belén Liebana of Natura Cabana Hotel & Spa; Ian Schembri-Sant of the Gansevoort Hotel, Sosúa, and hotelier and current Deputy Minister of Destination Management for the Northern region, Julio Almonte, were the speakers during the first section.

    The first two speakers addressed the issue from the perspective of businesses that represent alternative offers to the traditional “all-inclusive.” Both, Natura Cabana and Gansevoort, have been working on proposals that pursue a higher-spending market than the one that currently visits massively the Puerto Plata destination, basing their products on quality and personalized service.

    According to them, their establishments seeks out the vacationers market that wishes to enjoy the quiet of small places with high quality and highly personalized services, ensuring customer satisfaction. “Tourists who want to feel free and relaxed, respecting the identity of the environment,” said Liebana. Meanwhile, Schembri-Sant said: “the future of Puerto Plata is to offer services and products that are optional to the current offer.”

    Julio Almonte understands that the greatest strength of Puerto Plata is the diversity of its resources and its multiple opportunities for a variety of offers of tourism products.

    “Puerto Plata has countless opportunities to diversify its tourism offer; with these characteristics and the integrated work of the actors involved in the tourism industry, it can only go up,” said Almonte.

    The second group of speakers represented the segment of real estate tourism or second residence, as well as the golf tourism, segments which are mostly demanded by high spending, family, or retired consumers. The speakers in this section were Marco Villanueva of Riviera Azul, Pablo Rivera of Century 21, and Miguel Ángel Jiménez Messón for the Playa Dorada Hotel Association and the Golf Course of that project.

    In this section, the first speaker was Villanueva, who noted that the real estate tourism drives the growth of other service offers and generates repeat consumption. He said that this type of offer, more than any other, requires the right environment: safety, quality public infrastructure, complementary services, among others. He indicated that the construction of the Puerto Plata - Santiago highway is essential for stimulating the development of the destination.

    Pablo Rivera of Century 21 added that real estate tourism has a better development in enclaves near cities or towns that provide complementary services to tourists. This sector has an added advantage for the investor, the time of return on investment, which is usually considerably shorter than that of conventional hotels.

    “These tourism styles often require a variety of services during a stay, such as restaurants, grocery and health stores, pharmacies, specialized leisure for family or children, excursions, among others; in this way, they contribute in a very positively manner to boost the local economy,” he said.

    On a different note, Engineer Jiménez Messón addressed the issue of Golf, stating that it should not be seen as a complementary offer, but as a different segment of the tourism market. He said that Golf tourism boosts the economy, because it demands other service offers, and that this is usually high spending tourism. The forum was moderated by Jetti de Jesús Salcedo, Tourism Management Consultant, who summarized that the quality of services should be the differentiating element, that personalized service is essential; each of our customers must have a first name, a last name and a story with us. To sum up, he said that “there is no such thing as a finished destination; there are players who are unable to see the opportunities and act keenly to respond to the changes in demand.”

    During the closing remarks of the event, Jakaira Cid, Executive Director of the Tourism Cluster, expressed appreciation for the support provided by the speakers. She also thanked the Director of the O&M University, Milagro Castaños, and the faculty, for hosting the initiative.

    The executive said that the third university forum of tourism will be held during the month of May, at the Technological University of Santiago (UTESA), Puerto Plata campus.


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