SuperClubs has recently been celebrated with a myriad of awards, John Issa has been distinguished as the leading Caribbean Entrepreneur and the Grand Lido Negril has recently picked up a Conde Nast Traveller award. Things are looking rosy for the company. One resort that is also doing well is the Breezes Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. A land blessed with beautiful people, fabulous landscapes and wonderful beaches - a tendancy to cater for the mass tourism market has meant positive arrival rates and `happy days` for hoteliers. Caribbean Weekly caught up with (Ex) Manager Lars Geweyer to talk about the cruise industry, the lack of communication between the Tourism Board and hoteliers and German Liver Pate!
CW: `2003 has been a successful year for SuperClubs with the two newest SuperClubs resorts, Breezes Puerto Plata and Breezes Punta Cana both in the Dominican Republic, opening and performing exceptionally well by attracting the British tourist with it’s easy access.` This is a statement featured in a recent news piece featured on Caribbean Weekly. What is
your percentage share from the UK? As Caribbean Weekly recalls your biggest market was the Canadian followed by the German market, could you shed some light on the matter?LG: Up to date, our main markets are as follows 1) Canada, 2) USA, 3) UK, 4) Germany and 5) Italy. UK presents approx. 10% of the total occupancy.
CW: Did SuperClubs pick you out for the position owing to your nationality and the high level of German occupants that the hotel receives/services?
LG: Not really. SuperClubs took over the Management of both D.R. Sol de Plata Hotels, including the existing Management structure. I was previously of SuperClubs Area General Manager, so it was inevitable.
CW: At a recent a href=“http://www.onecaribbean.org”>CTO conference (CTC-26), one of the biggest issues was the matter of the tax on cruise liners/ships? Do you believe that this is a good idea? What are your views on the cruise industry (and the proposed taxation), do you feel it has a negative effect on land based tourism? As the DR is a mass tourism destination does it merely assist what the island is trying to achieve?
LG: The Cruise line business has increased by 12% annually, however the land based Hotel industry only increased by 5%. In my opinion why should there be less taxation on cruises then at Hotels? It should be the same, as both cater with basically the same features and services. Cruise ships leave less US dollar income to the destination - and thus to the population. This is a obviously a negative affect.CW: Do you feel that the Dominican Republic pays enough attention to the matter of sustainable tourism as addressed at the recent Sustainable tourism conference on St. Kitts?
LG: No, not at all. The Tourism Minister of the Dominican Republic does not correspond satisfactory to the hoteliers, bearing in mind that Tourism presents approx 40 % of the total economy.
CW: Do you feel a merger between the CHA and CTO is possible, or is this a crazy sentiment to try and enforce?
LG: This would be ideal - less organisations but united presentation with more impact.CW: What are your views on the long standing Mr. Jean Holder (CTO), do you feel it is time that he now resigned and allowed some fresh blood into the industry?
LG: I can not judge on Mr. Jean Holder, but we understand that new blood may have positive impact on the organisation.CW: What developments do you have inline for your resort?
LR: A brand new Internet Café and an electronic games room for teenagers.CW: Tell Caribbean Weekly readers what makes Breezes Punta Cana different from other all-inclusive resorts?
LG: Not a problem,
1) The unique real Super All Inclusive Concept,
2) Tipping is not permitted,
3) SuperClubs unique features, such as Circus Trapeze, A Rock Climbing Wall and Ice Skating Ring,
4) 65% of all guest rooms have an Ocean View and,
5) The most convenient Resort. Everything is right in one building with little need to walk anywhere you can enjoy the perfect SuperClubs holiday.CW: How did the departure of Joey Issa affect the Issa Empire? Did you feel any of the effect or was it simply `business as usual`?LR: It was Business as usual.CW: How successful is your Minister of Tourism at assisting and bettering tourism to the island?LR: I reiterate my sentiment in question four; there is not enough interaction. However in the last 3 years we have witnessed some improvement.CW: What are the things that you miss most about home?LR: One thing mainly, German Liver Pate!!CW: Finally, what music do you have in your stereo at the moment?LR: Chill out music and of course Dominican Meringue music!!
Caribbean Weekly would like to wish Lars all the best in his new position as VP of South African based Casino Group, Sky International. Put ours on the number 7!
Related stories on Caribbean Weekly
(07/08/03) Joe Issa Leaves SuperClubs
(28/10/03) Hon. J. Issa will attend WTM, London