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Page created: 27-Apr-2009, updated 26-May-2009, 24-Jun-2009, 15-Jul-2009, 18-Jul-2009, 21-Jul-2009, 23-Jul-2009, 31-Jul-2009, 5-Aug-2009, 7-Aug-2009, 11-Aug-2009.

 

Introduction

 

The B09 HFCC/ASBU Conference will be held from 17 to 21 August 2009 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

 

Conference Sponsors

 

National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (NASB), Indotel, the IBB, Continental Electronics, Thomson Radio Broadcast, Inc.; and the DRM Consortium.

 

Invitation and Registration

 

Dear Colleagues:
 
Our block booking of hotel rooms at the Dreams Punta Cana Resort expires this Friday, July 17. After that date, the hotel will accept reservations on a space-available basis only as long as rooms remain available. They have informed us that there are several weddings and other large groups meeting at the hotel around the same time as the HFCC/ASBU Conference, and they are booking up quickly. So please send us your flight arrival and departure information by Friday, July 17 in order to guarantee you a room at the Dreams resort and to provide the Dominican Foreign Ministry with sufficient time to process your visa waiver (for those who need them).
 
Thank you for your cooperation, and we look forward to seeing you in Punta Cana.
 
Jeff White
President, National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (NASB) Chairman, HFCC/ASBU B09 Organizing Committee
Tel +1-305-559-9764
Fax +1-305-559-8186

* Note: We have eliminated those who were pre-registered but have not given us their flight information or credit card guarantee for hotel reservation. We can still add persons to the list, or re-add the ones we have taken off, if and when they submit their flight and credit card information, and if the hotel still has rooms available.
Warning (7-Aug-09): The hotel has informed us that unfortunately they have no more rooms available as of today.
 

Travel Information

 

Hotel: The Conference will take place at Dreams Punta Cana, a hotel located about one hour north of Punta Cana International Airport. The special hotel conference rate is $130 per night for a single room and $168 per night for a double room (i.e. $84 per person). If you will have more than two persons in your room, or if you want adjoining rooms for family members, please contact the Conference Committee for special rates that are available.

Frequently Asked Questions:
- Can I come early and/or stay late? Yes, you can come up to four days before the conference or stay up to four days afterwards at the same conference room rate.
- Can I pay the hotel in cash? Yes, or of course you can pay with a credit card also. You will need a credit card to guarantee your room reservation. If you don't have a credit card, contact us to make special arrangements.
- Can I bring family members along for the same conference room rate? Yes. Just indicate their names and credit card information on your registration form or on a separate registration form. Children under 12 staying in the same room with their parents or guardians are free.

Guest room amenities: One king-size bed or two double beds, air conditioning, telephone, TV, electronic safe, iron and ironing board.

Entry Requirements: Travelers from many countries can enter the Dominican Republic with only their passport, purchasing a $10 Tourist Card at the airport upon arrival. Some nationalities will need to obtain a visa before arrival. When you send us your conference registration, we will inform you if you need a visa and how to obtain it. Note that citizens of countries that are required to have visas to enter the Dominican Republic are exempt from the visa requirement if they have a valid entry visa to the United States, Canada or Great Britain in their passport. The Conference Committee is making special arrangements with the Dominican authorities to obtain visas for those delegates who require them. We will advise you if you need a visa after you send us your registration form. Please advise us if you are not a citizen of the country in which you reside.

Airport: We strongly suggest that you fly directly to Punta Cana International Airport, which is a one-hour drive from the hotel. A large number of scheduled and charter airlines fly to Punta Cana from the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America. This is the busiest airport in the Dominican Republic, receiving more than 3 million passengers in 2007. Punta Cana is the only Latin American airport with direct flights to both Russia and the United States. If you are unable to get a flight from your area to Punta Cana, you may need to fly into Santo Domingo international airport and take ground transportation to Punta Cana. The Conference Committee can organize this transportation for you, but it is a drive of approximately 3 hours from Santo Domingo, so it is preferable to fly directly to Punta Cana if possible. Here is a list of international airlines and destinations served from Punta Cana International Airport. Please verify current schedules with the airlines. Aerocaribbean (Varadero, Cuba) AeroGal (Guayaquil, Quito) Aerolineas Argentinas (Buenos Aires-Ezeiza) [seasonal] AeroRep£blica (Bogot ) [seasonal] Air Astana (Astana, Kiev-Boryspil, Shannon) Air Canada (Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Moncton, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Winnipeg) Air Comet (Madrid) Air Dominicana (Bogot , Santiago, Santo Domingo, Guayaquil, Caracas, New York-JFK, Miami, San Juan, Tampa) [Charter] Air Europa (Madrid) Air France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle) Air Pullmantur (Madrid) Air Transat (Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Puerto Plata, Quebec City, St. John's, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Winnipeg) Allegiant Air (Chicago/Rockford, Greenville/Spartanburg, Milwaukee) [seasonal] American Airlines (Miami, New York-JFK) American Eagle (San Juan) Arkefly (Amsterdam, Puerto Plata) Austrian Airlines (Vienna) Avianca (Bogot ) Belair (Zrich) CanJet (Halifax, Moncton, Nassau, Quebec City) Condor Airlines (Frankfurt) Continental Airlines (Newark) Conviasa (Caracas) [seasonal] Copa Airlines (Panama City) Corsairfly (Amsterdam, Fort de France, Paris-Orly, Samana-El Catey, St. Maarten) Czech Airlines (Prague - seasonal)Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, New York-JFK [ends August 18]) Edelweiss Air (Zurich) EuroAtlantic Airways (Faro, Lisbon) Eurofly (Milan-Malpensa) First Choice Airways (London-Gatwick, Glasgow-International [begins May 9, 2009], Manchester (UK)) Iberworld (Barcelona, Madrid) Jetairfly (Brussels) LAN Airlines (Miami, Santiago de Chile) LAN Argentina (Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Miami) Lauda Air (Vienna [begins December 24]) Livingston Airlines (Antigua, Milan-Malpensa, St. Lucia) LTU International/Air Berlin (Berlin-Tegel, Dsseldorf, Leipzig/Halle, Munich) Martinair (Amsterdam) Mexicana (Mexico City) [Seasonal] Northwest Airlines (Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul) [ends January 2009] Orbest (Lisbon) Pan Am World Airways Dominicana (Aguadilla) Ryan International Airlines (Boston, Milwaukee [seasonal], Orlando-Sanford, Chicago-O'Hare) Sata International (Lisbon) Skyservice (Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Kitchener, Montreal, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Winnipeg) Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale) [seasonal] Sun Country Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul) [seasonal] Sunwing Airlines (Bagotville, Gander, Halifax, London (ON), Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John's, Saint John, Toronto-Pearson, St. Petersburg/Clearwater) TAM Airlines (Sao Paulo-Garulhos) [charter] Tame (Quito, Guayaquil) [seasonal] Thomas Cook Airlines (Belfast-International, London-Gatwick, Manchester (UK)) Thomsonfly (Birmingham (UK), London-Gatwick, Glasgow-International [begins May 9, 2009] Manchester (UK), Newcastle) Transaero (Moscow-Domodedovo) United Airlines (Chicago-O'Hare) US Airways (Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia) USA3000 Airlines (Baltimore/Washington, Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky [seasonal], Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, St. Louis) WestJet (Toronto-Pearson) XL Airways (London-Gatwick, Manchester (UK)) XL Airways France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle [seasonal], Paris-Orly)

Tips Regarding Flights to Punta Cana: Some of the least expensive flights to Punta Cana from Europe for mid-August are American Airlines from Madrid, Brussels and Amsterdam; and US Airways from London. All of these involve connections through the United States, so a U.S. visa or entry permission would be necessary. There is a non-stop flight from Frankfurt to Punta Cana on Condor Airlines, which does not go through the U.S. There are a number of connections through the U.S. on American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, United and Continental. All of these require connections through the U.S. There is an Air Europa flight from Tunis-Punta Cana (with one stop in Madrid) on Air Europa, which does not stop in the U.S. You can also fly to Miami and take American Airlines from Miami-Punta Cana for approx. USD 372 round-trip. For those who do not want to connect through the U.S., you can fly via Canada, where Air Canada and several other airlines fly from Montreal, Toronto and other cities direct to Punta Cana. You may also want to check charter airlines in your country or nearby countries for flights to Punta Cana. Some of these companies are listed above; some operate this route in August and others do not. If you find good fares and connections from your country, please let us know so we can post the information on this website for others. Geoff Spells indicates that there are direct flights from London Gatwick to Punta Cana for around 850 euros; these are charter flights and operate only Wednesdays and Thursdays. Geoff says there are plenty of options from the UK using American carriers changing at Miami, New York, etc. for around 950 euros.

Arrival at Punta Cana International Airport: When you enter the terminal building, if you need a Tourist Card, you will have to buy this first (for US$10) before you get in the line for immigration. You will see a desk where you can purchase the Tourist Card. After passing through immigration, you will pick up your baggage and go through customs, which is generally a quick and easy procedure. It is a one-hour drive from the airport to the hotel. Taxis and other public transport generally charge around $60-$80 one-way. We strongly suggest that you arrange your transportation from the airport to the hotel with the Conference Committee, as we have made special arrangements and you will be met personally at the airport. Please note that parts of the road between the airport and the hotel are unpaved and bumpy, but it is perfectly safe.

Electricity: The Dominican electrical system is 110 volts, 60 cycles with U.S.-style electrical plugs.

Telephone Service: The Dominican telecommunications infrastructure is very good. From your hotel room, you can call anywhere in the world with no problem. The cost is approximately US$2 per minute for calls to North America and US$3 per minute for calls to Europe. There is a voice mail system on your room telephone. If you have a GSM cellular phone with international roaming enabled, you can use it in Punta Cana and at the hotel.Internet: Wireless Internet will be available in the conference meeting room. It is also available in individual hotel rooms, where there is a charge of $25 per 25 hours (they do not have to be used consecutively) or $60 per week for unlimited service.

Broadcasting and media: Throughout the country, there are about 290 AM and FM radio stations, 46 television stations, plus other cable TV and satellite stations. There are also a handful of tropical band shortwave stations. The Dominican Republic is the only Caribbean island besides Cuba that has shortwave broadcast stations operating. National and international newspapers are available in the hotel gift shop.

Health matters: No vaccinations are required to enter the Dominican Republic. As in many tropical countries, it is not recommended to drink tap water. We recommend drinking bottled water and other canned or bottled beverages. The water and ice used at the resort restaurants is filtered. The restaurant conditions are very sanitary, but there is always the possibility of getting stomach problems or diarrhea when eating any food in unfamiliar countries. Therefore, you may want to bring with you some Imodium, Pepto Bismol or other similar medicine, just in case. The hotel has a doctor on-site for any medical problems, but they do charge for medical treatment. For any serious problems, it would be necessary to go to a hospital in Punta Cana, about an hour away.

Post-Conference Excursion: An optional one-day group excursion from the conference hotel to Santo Domingo is planned for the day after the HFCC/ASBU Conference ends (Saturday, August 22). The tour will be by bus, and will visit historic and tourist attractions in the Dominican capital, with lunch at a typical Dominican restaurant. Some of the major attractions in Santo Domingo include the Colonial Zone with the first cathedral in the Americas, the Columbus Lighthouse containing the explorer's tomb, and numerous museums, galleries and theaters. The price of the tour will be approximately US$75.

Money: There is a bank with an ATM machine at the Punta Cana airport where you can withdraw Dominican pesos from your bank or credit cards. There is also a bank and ATM at a small shopping center about two kilometers from the hotel. You can exchange currencies at the hotel. You will need to pay the Conference registration fee (which is the US dollar equivalent of 150 euros) in U.S. dollars (cash only). You can pay the hotel in cash or by credit card. We suggest that you bring some U.S. one-dollar bills with you to use as tips. You can pay for excursions with credit cards or cash. The exchange rate is approximately 36 pesos to one U.S. Dollar. You can use a credit card or cash as a guarantee for any incidental charges at the hotel during your stay.

Conference Program: The Conference will begin at around 9:00 am on Monday. You should plan to arrive in Punta Cana by Sunday at latest. (The conference room rates will be in effect as of August 13 and until the night of August 25.) Registration will be open on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 16) and Monday morning (Aug. 17). The meeting will be opened on Monday by HFCC, ASBU and Dominican officials. Generally speaking, the sessions will run from approximately 9:00 am until 5:00 pm daily, with a break for lunch. There are usually three or four restaurants open at the hotel for lunch. You may eat dinner at any of the hotel's restaurants. The conference will end at noon on Friday, although we are planning a DRM seminar for local/national Dominican broadcasters on Friday afternoon. The optional tour to Santo Domingo will leave the hotel just after breakfast on Saturday, returning in early evening in time for a closing reception hosted by Thomson Radio Broadcast.

Language: The language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. However, English is widely spoken by personnel in the hotel, along with some other European languages.

Weather: The Dominican Republic has a tropical climate. Temperatures in Punta Cana in late August tend to be about 31 degrees C during the day and around 24 degrees C at night. Most of the buildings at the hotel are air conditioned.

Time: All of the Dominican Republic is on UTC -4 year-round.

Restaurants: The hotel has one buffet restaurant and several a la carte restaurants serving a wide variety of local and international cuisine.

Dress: There is a dress code at the a la carte restaurants for dinner. Otherwise, dress at the hotel is casual. For the conference sessions themselves, feel free to dress as you please. However, because of the warm climate, you may want to wear more comfortable clothing rather than suit jackets and ties.

You may contact the HFCC B09 Conference organizing committee at e-mail info wrmi.net

 
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