To be able to keep up with the demands of the growing tourism industry, Santo Domingo, the oldest colonial city in Latin America, is currently under an extensive renovation project. The project involves millions of dollars' worth of reparations and innovations, a plan to make this historic city more appealing to tourists.
NBC News reported that the funding involved in the restoration project was due to a $120 million loan courtesy of Inter-American Development Bank, something that would still have to be approved by the Dominican Republic's Congress 100 percent. When done, Santo Domingo would be a bustling city restored to its former splendor, for the benefit of the tourists as well the local residents.
Although this project is great news for business owners, it is not wholeheartedly supported by the city's residents. Some of them were afraid that they are going to be priced out with the new businesses coming into the area, and that more tourists coming into their old city are going to be traumatic for them.
A large part of the funding goes to the installation of new streetlights, repairing old streets, and restoring centuries-old buildings. The Dominican Republic welcomes 5 million tourists each year, and part of the restoration project is to entice the visitors to spend time in the capital's historic center as well instead of just spending time on the beach.
Official figures showed that new investments and business are slowly pouring in Santo Domingo over the past five years. More than 300 new condominiums, cafes, and restaurants are opening left and right in the colonial center.
The government reassures its residents that the restoration is not purely for economic development but also for the betterment of their lives. Despite all this, most residents aren't reassured.
Santo Domingo is the capital of Dominican Republic and is the first European City of the New World, according to Wiki Travel. Bartolome Columbus, Christopher Columbus's brother, founded the city in 1496.