27.08.2015 - UNESCO Havana

Santo Domingo prepares strategies for sustainable cultural tourism management

© Olga Rufins/

The Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Development Bank (IDB), through the World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme, implement the project “Destination Management Organisation Development Strategy and Sustainable Tourism Strategy for the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, World Heritage site”.

The initiative basically seeks to strengthen inter-institutional relations between the central government, the local government, associations and trade unions, as well as the private sector present in the Historic Centre of the Colonial City to improve the management capacity of all its actors in favour of consolidating this enclave as a cultural tourism destination.

The consulting firm Solimar International, experts in sustainable tourism and destination management organisations, join the project to facilitate the dialogue between the interested local actors and those associated with the tourist industry in the Colonial City, in order to constitute and implement a political/inter-institutional governance structure to plan, develop and manage sustainable tourism with a “cultural destination” approach to the Colonial City, a World Heritage site.

In his presentation during the first project workshop, dedicated to analyse the situation of sustainable cultural tourism in the Colonial City and the introduction of destination management organisation models for the World Heritage site, the expert from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Peter DeBrine, praised the shared responsibility of national and local institutions in the conservation of World Heritage sites.

“What we are seeing here in the Colonial City is an action where different interest groups work together, actually trying to achieve the balance between development and conservation. Likewise, we are pleased to see tourism investment in the conservation of the sites”, said the UNESCO expert in the framework of this activity held on 7 July.

According to DeBrine , contemporary management models for monuments and sites declared World Heritage seek to link the historic centres with a broader urban environment and to integrate them to regional development, as well as to improve the living and working conditions of their inhabitants.

The expert pointed out that the tourism developed in many historic sites throughout the world is benefiting the local communities, which are becoming more interested in protecting the heritage.

“In the case of Santo Domingo, we are focusing on how we can do this for future generations and on ensuring that the Colonial City will continue to convey and share its wonderful legacy with visitors, but also with Dominicans themselves,” he stressed.

Some of the institutions of the public sector participating in the project are the City Hall of the National District, the National Directorate of Monumental Heritage, the General Directorate of Territorial Management and Development (DGODT) of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD), a representation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and officials of the Ministry of Tourism. Hosting the event are professionals from the Coordination Unit of the Tourism Development Programme in the Colonial City.

The private sector is represented by the president of the Hotel Association of Santo Domingo, Mr Dennis Mata, with the participation of the Hodelpa group, the Accor hotel chain, the Billini Hotel and Sans Souci Ports, in addition to representatives from the City of Ovando Association and the Tourist Guides Association of the Colonial City.

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