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Dominican Republic took the podium with Tabacalera Palma and La Galera as World Favorite Cigar at Tourism and Cigars Exhibition in Belgium. Cigar related tourism is one of the main products of tourism industry in Caribbean and Latin America region bringing an estimated 300.000 tourists per year in cigar related discovery tours.

BELGIUM - May 26th, 2017 - European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) hosted the first ever European Cigars and Tourism Exhibition in Brussels with the aim of bringing together the European cigars lovers with world top cigar producers. 

As Europe emerges out of the crisis, we must not forget that our continent is the main consumer of cigars in the world and cigar is part of the lifestyle and joie de vivre that is representative of our continent.

Europe must influence,  educate and leverage his financial and taste on world cigars community.

Be spoke in a word! (Professor Dr. Anton Caragea-ECTT President opening speech)

On the meeting agenda was also on the most sought after moment: tasting of world's best cigars deemed as representative for a cigars aficionados paradise.

The winner was unanimously branded as La Galera 80 years anniversary limited edition crowned as Favorite Cigar for 2017 and Tabacalera Palma from Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic cigars and tobacco product arouse a strong interests being labeled as powerful and interesting and eliciting also interest from tour operators interested in carving tourism and cigar tasting programmes.

If Dominican Republic took the podium with Tabacalera Palma and La Galera as World Favorite Cigar,  Nicaraguan products also fired up the world's attention followed closely by Cuban and a host of small Mexico and Brazil producers.

The Director of European Cigars Exhibition in Brussels, Mrs. Ruxandra Leonte stated:  We hope to make the Cigars Exhibition a yearly event representative for world producers and European consumers and also support a tourism products based on tobacco discovery as we already have at world level well established and running wine tourism tours. 

I congratulate the winners of this year edition of World's Favorite Cigar producer Tabacalera Palma and wish everybody to taste the magic La Galera cigars blended by talented and energetic Jochy- José Arnaldo Blanco III and his team.

Pavel Avramoiu, hotel and hospitality delegate  also praised the initiative: representing a chain of 80 luxury hotels across the world, the opportunity to meet in one place the most important representatives of cigar industry is priceless. I also concur to the strong showing of Tabacalera Palma and Dominican Republic cigars and I hope we will soon have La Galera collection in our hotels.


Tabacalera Palma’s emergence predates to the mid 19th century, when a Spaniard named José Manuel Blanco Lozada moves to the Dominican Republic and pursues the trade of tropical fruits and tobacco.

 José Arnaldo Blanco II established Tabacalera Palma back in 1925 and filed for industrial registration in 1936, becoming one of the first cigar manufacturers in the Dominican Republic. By 1960, ‘La Palma’ had developed to have around 200 full time rollers generating cigars for the local market. 

Today the family business is lead into a new adventure by José Arnaldo Blanco III, affectionately known to all as “Jochy”, who  is the current owner and CEO of Tabacalera Palma.

Tabacalera Palma is a vibrant enterprise with a positive impact to the community. Not only does the company contribute with the direct employment of many citizens, but commits with society by supporting existing charities like the Firemen Patronage, the Orphanage of Tamboril, several sports organizations, amongst others.

The company employs more than 350 persons on site, more than 70% of them being women, indirectly employing more than 1,500 with all of the operations. 

Jochy devotes unconditional support towards small and independent growers in the communities where Tabacalera Palma operates, as well as portraying a partnership in the state of the art tobacco farm “Estancia Flor de Palma”, with the world-renowned cigar maker Litto Gomez from La Flor Dominicana. 

Some of the finest tobacco in the world is produced here, from the flavorful fillers and the delightful binders, to the exquisite wrappers of the uttermost quality.

Ever since Mr. Blanco assumed the role of CEO in Tabacalera Palma, the company has developed numerous private labels for some of the leading cigar companies in the world.

Additionally, Tabacalera Palma. has developed and improved tobacco growing, harvesting, curing and processing techniques, ideal factors that compliment the high performance of the cigars.


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Name: Radu Alexandru
Company: European Council on Tourism and Trade
Phone: 0040213157730
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