Business & Pleasure January 25, 2020 | 5:54 am

Lifestyle Group seeks new issuing markets for DR

Despite the stumbling blocks experienced by a hotel in Punta Cana, executives of the Lifestyle Group group say they trust 100% in the Dominican Republic and announced that they have closed an agreement with China’s largest tour operator to bring Chinese citizens to their hotels and holiday club.

The negotiation is part of their search for new issuing markets, as explained by the CEO of the Lifestyle Group, Markus Wischenbart; and his external advisor, Daniel Ferra, during an interview at his stand at the International Tourism Fair (Fitur 2020).

“We just closed business with them. Initially, we will start with the Chinese-Americans, those who have an American passport and who can enter without a visa to the Dominican Republic and will have aggressive rates to be able to have them in our hotels,” said Ferra.

Currently, Lifestyle develops several projects in the Dominican Republic. The investment, Ferra said, is well beyond US $ 100 million. “We have 2,000 units in Puerto Plata and how we handle 160 units in Punta Cana plus 130 that we have in Cabarete.”

His new bet, said Ferra, will be the beginning of the construction of two towers of 36 two-bedroom apartments, plus two penthouses each in the Cofresí area. They will, he said, through their real estate.

They will also continue with one of the fixed projects they carry out, Ferra said: the construction of one or two villas per month in Puerto Plata.

On the other hand, Ferra said the group offers four thousand jobs in its hotels, the vacation club, and real estate. Indirectly there are two thousand or three thousand more, he added.

PP was fine. Speaking about the fall of tourism that the country experienced in 2019, Ferra explained that they suffered in the Punta Cana area but in the areas of Puerto Plata and Cabarete they managed to keep up very well.

One of the reasons, he argues, is that they also work with a vacation club that, with more than six thousand members, is the basis of their business and helps maintain the occupancy of their hotels.
In the case of Cabarete, he said, it has been so successful that the reservations for February have already closed because everything is completely filled and Puerto Plata also closed since December last year.

Speaking of summer, Ferra explained that they already have a 60% occupancy in Cabarete and Puerto Plata. “Where we continue to suffer a little is in the hotel in Punta Cana, it is a very large hotel, with 660 units, but it is true that with all the competition there is and with the situation that has also happened last year because it is costing a little to recover and we are now seeing how to help you.”

To do this, he said, they had a meeting with Lufthansa to support them next summer.
Returning to Punta Cana, he said that to reverse the fall in occupations they are offering very aggressive offers. “What we do is that sometimes we lower rates to be competitive and the vacation club replenishes that part of the rate difference as a marketing expense. So we have very aggressive rates for that market.”

Finally, Ferra said they trust the country fully because it is a safe destination.
“We have 100% confidence in the country. In fact, in trips made by CEO Markus through several countries he has realized the consistency and consolidation of the Dominican market,” he said and added that they are satisfied with the work of the Ministry of Tourism.

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