Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Tue July 19 2016

Puerto Plata Amphitheater Launch Signals Dominican Republic Tourism Expansion

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | July 19, 2016

Puerto Plata Amphitheater Launch Signals Dominican Republic Tourism Expansion

 PHOTO: The Puerto Plata amphitheater. (Photo courtesy of Nick Argires, Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism)

The recent launch of a 4,000-seat seaside Amphitheater adjacent to a historic colonial-era fort in the Dominican Republic coastal town of Puerto Plata continues the country’s concerted campaign to expand its surging tourism growth beyond the Punta Cana resort district.

Under construction for more two years, the Amphitheater opened officially on July 14 at a ceremony attended by Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic’s president and Francisco Javier García, the minister of tourism. The finished Puerto Plata Amphitheater now stands within sight of Fortaleza San Felipe, a 16th century fort built to protect the city from pirates.

The historic fortress houses Museo de la Fortaleza San Felipe, which chronicles the city’s important role in Dominican Republic history and features 18th and 19th military artifacts.

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The 22,200 square foot Amphitheater includes a 3,300 square foot stage and features sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Dominican Republic’s north coast. The new facility will offer music, theater, dance and cinema performances, Dominican officials said. The project also featured a renovation of Park of La Puntilla, a picturesque seaside park that straddles the oceanfront and faces Fortaleza San Felipe and Amphitheater.

 Image: The seaside Park of La Puntilla. (Photo courtesy of Nick Argires, Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism).

“This project and modern amphitheater were designed to incorporate new elements into tourism in the north coast, and Dominican Republic in general," said García. “Distinct projects such as this help attract a wider range of tourists and enrich their experience while they are in country, encouraging return visits.”

Puerto Plata’s newfound prominence as a Dominican travel destination expanded significantly last year when major cruise operator Carnival Corporation launched the $85 million Amber Cove cruise port in the city. Named in recognition of the region's historic mineral wealth and amber reserves, the cruise port brings an average of 5,000 weekly visitors to Puerto Plata.

Amber Cove is expected to host 400,000 vacationers this year according to Puerto Plata Tourism Cluster (CTDPP) officials. Puerto Plata’s visitor attractions also include the Teleférico cable car, billed as the Caribbean’s only aerial tramway.

Via the tramway visitors can ascend 2,600 feet up Pico Isabel de Torres for a commanding view of the mountainous region in a finely landscape park. The city’s downtown Zona Colonial district features “casas Victorianas,” 19th century wood homes built in a distinct Victorian style.

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Puerto Plata’s tourist arrivals surged in 2015 as visitors increased 11.5 percent year-over year said CTDPP officials. While the all-inclusive Punta Cana resort district remains the Dominican Republic’s tourism staple, Puerto Plata has emerged as a new national tourism centers.

The Dominican government has launched programs to renovate Puerto Plata’s seaside malecon (boulevard), restore historic buildings and implement new safety surveillance systems and road improvements in downtown Puerto Plata. The city now accounts for 18 percent of the Dominican Republic’s hotel inventory, trailing only Punta Cana.



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