To a large extent, the urban orientation of tourism in the Dominican Republic reflected dictator Rafael Trujillo's desire to showcase Santo Domingo, or his Ciudad Trujillo. Trujillo's efforts to promote tourism consisted mainly of luxury hotel development and hosting international fairs. Such a combination created a strange dichotomy, particularly as decentralized tourism began to emerge around the Caribbean. Hotels such as the Intercontinental Embajador (opened in 1956) created a splash for a couple of years, and then tourism began to ebb. Ironically, Santo Domingo boasted some of the Caribbean's finest hotels, but lacked the types of attractions and infrastructure that jet-set tourists were growing accustomed to in the 1950s and 1960s in places such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Tour guides gushed about the “modernity” of Trujillo's city, but found it difficult to provide tourists with other options in the Dominican Republic besides Santo Domingo. This chapter examines how the Punta Cana region has been transformed into a tourist destination in the Dominican Republic.
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