The President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader Corona announced today a set of initiatives to address the tourism industry’s challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure that the country is a safe travel destination.
The Plan for the Responsible Recovery of Tourism in response to COVID-19, which will be led by President Abinader, will protect the health, welfare and safety of tourists as well as promote a sustainable recovery of the tourism sector.
“Our goal is to minimize the effects of the pandemic and facilitate a responsible recovery that prioritizes health, maximizes the potential for job creation and economic growth, and promotes the further sustainable development of the sector,” said President Abinader.
David Collado, Minister of Tourism, mentioned during today’s news conference that the new administration and the Association of Hotels and Tourism of Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES) have been meeting to better understand the tourists’ concerns of the industry’s needs.
“We are focused on driving continuous growth for the sector, along with our country’s image,” said Minister Collado. “We are confident that together we will overcome the challenges of the pandemic and ensure that the Dominican Republic remains the number one destination in the region for international travelers, who visit either for vacation, business, investment opportunities or returning to their preferred second home.”
The government’s plan provides a set of measures to ensure the health and safety of locals and visitors. These measures will include new internationally certified health protocols and will apply to the entire industry, including restaurants and bars.
The measures include:
– Starting at the end of September, rapid tests will be performed on randomly selected travelers upon arrival, such as the diagnostic breath test for COVID-19. Once this measure is in place, the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival will be eliminated. However, it continues to be valid until then.
– Social distancing and the use of masks will be mandatory for the duration of a visitor’s stay.
– All tourists visiting a hotel will be granted, on a temporary basis, a travel assistance plan that will include coverage for emergencies, telemedicine, lodging for prolonged stays and costs for changing flights in the event of an infection. This insurance will be provided at no cost to the visitor until December 2020 and will be 100% paid for by the Dominican State.
– A Sanitary Bubble will be implemented to ensure that hotel employees stay as long as possible within the facilities.
Properties will implement effective health management with suppliers, contractors and employees. The latter will be regularly tested and will follow a specific protocol to come in and out of the facilities.
– Labor regulations will be adapted to minimize and mitigate risks for employees.
The government said that this protocol is in the process of being certified by the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels and Buró Veritas, both world leaders in certifications of the sector.
A new Tourism Cabinet, led by the President of the Republic, and under the executive direction of the Minister of Tourism will manage the plan. Institutions that directly affect the industry’s value chain will make up the Cabinet, which will constantly monitor the impact and effectiveness of each initiative implemented and adjust as necessary.
A communication effort will follow, using all channels and points of contact with tourists and allies to let the world know that the Dominican Republic is a safe travel destination. The communication plan includes training, detailed material, constant updating, and search engine optimization.