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DR1 Daily News (April 28, 2009)
The Dominican Republic stands to be one of the winners if progress is made towards opening Cuba as a cruise ship destination. Michael Ronan, spokesman for the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association said that cruise companies are monitoring the situation and would be ready to take part in cruises that could be launched from Florida to Cuba. He said that Cuba still does not have the infrastructure in place for cruise ship arrivals, but this could be ready in two years time. He spoke of five-day circuits including Puerto Plata and Puerto Rico.
During the Dominican Annual Travel Exchange meeting, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia announced that the Port of Puerto Plata could be happening, too. He said that Center for Export & Investments (CEI-RD) director Eddy Martinez was the coordinator of the project and was expected to come up with options. "Several cruise ship companies have expressed their interest in developing this project," he said. He expected a definition to come about no later than in May. He said that too many opportunities had been lost in Puerto Plata and that, "we don't have time to lose."
Javier Garcia said the Ministry is working closely with the Tourism Cluster of Puerto Plata to set out the clear rules of the game and land use guidelines so that maritime traffic is adequately handled in Puerto Plata this time around.