Last updated: 05:15 PM ET, Thu September 17 2015

UNESCO Issues Plan to Manage Santo Domingo History and Tourism

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | September 17, 2015

UNESCO Issues Plan to Manage Santo Domingo History and Tourism

PHOTO: Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial features numerous historic buildings. (photo by Brian Major)

The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) has issued a management plan to guide preservation and sustainable development initiatives in the Zona Colonial district of the Dominican Republic’s historic capital city of Santo Domingo.

The Zona Colonial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the first permanent establishment for 15th century European explorers in the Americas, and the site of the first cathedral, hospital, customs house and university in the Americas.

UNESCO’s "Sustainable Tourism Strategy in Santo Domingo´s Colonial City World Heritage Site" plan, released last week, seeks to engage public and private stakeholders in strategies to preserve the historic district while coordinating management of growing Zona Colonial tourist visits.

The Colonial Zone management plan will include the implementation of an inter-institutional management model for the Colonial City via an agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and UNESCO.

The Zona Colonial features numerous 16th century structures including palatial mansions, majestic churches, imposing government offices and even new boutique hotels set in historic buildings. The colonial town which was founded in 1498, features streets laid out along a grid pattern and became a model for town planners in colonial American cities.

Zona Colonial also offers quiet cobblestone streets and leafy courtyard with small art shops and restaurants. In some parts of the district, visitors will find murals and hand-painted artwork adorning open walls and street posts.

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