Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2013 Contents With just over 10 million people, the Dominican
Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation after
Cuba. But the DR is clear and away the regional
leader when it comes to tourism. In 2012, more than
4.56 million tourists visited the country by air, a 5.9
per cent increase over the year before. Of the total,
just under 639,000 were non-resident Dominicans
Statistics released by the Central Bank show the
effects of Hurricane Sandy on tourist arrivals. The
superstorm struck New York and New Jersey in late
October, shutting down regional airports throughout
the Northeast and causing widespread damages to
homes and businesses.
As a result, DR tourism arrivals in the final quarter
of 2012 came to 1.61 per cent, compared to first-
quarter growth of 7.88 per cent, second-quarter
growth of 7.38 per cent and third-quarter growth of
6.51 per cent. Even so, of the 256,175 additional tourists
who came in 2012 compared to the year before, 181,737
of them were from the United States and 21,253 were
The biggest gains, however, came from South
Americans (46,328)---led by Venezuela, Chile, Peru
and Colombia, in that order---and Russians (42,405).
In addition, 6,647 more visitors flew in from Puerto
Rico, just to the east, than in 2011.
At the other end of the spectrum was econom-
ically-battered Europe, where travel was down sharply.
The biggest drops were reported in travel from Great
Britain (39,452), Spain (14,001) and Italy (10,055).
(Caribbean News Digital)
BG18 | REGIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 2013 • WEEK TWO
Dominican Republic leads
Caribbean in tourist arrivals
The Guyana government has defended the decision
to increase electricity rates by nearly 27 per cent, saying
that the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc, has been
experiencing constraints over the past few years as a
result of high technical and commercial losses.
In addition, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds says here
the financial position has been compounded by the
decision of the opposition to slash GUY$5.2 billion
(One Guyana dollar = US$0.01 cents) subsidy from
the 2013 national budget.
The GPL has submitted its proposal for the tariff
increase to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Prime Minister Hinds on Tuesday called on con-
sumers to view the proposed tariff increase as one
that is coming after five years of no adjustment during
which time oil prices had risen by about 60 per cent.
He said the cost of oil constitutes about 80 per cent
of the total cost of providing electricity.
At present, the average price per kilowatt hour is
GUY$63 and with the 26.7 per cent increase the new
rate will be about GUY$80 per kilowatt hour.
Hinds, who has responsibility for the electricity
sector, acknowledged that the increase will be very
demanding on consumers.
"This 26.7 per cent is a big step, but it comes after
five years of no increases and five years of greatly
increased cost, especially for oil...the alternative for
the future is for the annual review to be put into effect,
in which case one would probably see increases of no
more than five per cent per year," he said.
Hinds said the utility needs to have enough money
to keep its operations running, and if this tariff is sup-
pressed then ultimately, the level and quality of service
will be degraded.
He rejected the claims made by the opposition and
other political commentators that the company is not
being properly managed and said the big cost factor
is technical and commercial losses.
The Prime Minister said there has been a lot of
pressure on GPL to reduce technical losses; however,
this would require significant investments.
The government said in preparation for the Amaila
Falls Hydropower Plant, many studies have been con-
ducted and one of the consulting groups retained by
the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) noted
that GPL needs an investment of US$250 million to
bring the networks up to the required level.
Hinds said one in every ten customers is billed for
less electricity than they use and trhat the company
suffers a technical loss of 31.5 per cent. (CANA)
defends electricity hike
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