The Dominican Republic has always been the top Caribbean destination for international travelers. According to a report from Expedia Group, the destination has not lost its popularity despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Expedia Group affirmed that international travel searches for the Caribbean on its websites registered positive growth for the month of July, which was mainly driven by Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic officially reopened its borders to international travellers on July 1. Also The Dominican Republic released the Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan in response to COVID -19 pandemic The plan is a positive step to minimize the pandemic effects by promoting the road to recovery for tourism sector, health, job creation and economic growth, and encourages the sector to remain viable in a sustainable way.
During a meeting on 31st August, Minister Collado reported on the progress of each of the sections of the announced plan – governance, communication, risk management, and financial support for the private sector – so that each of the initiatives can be implemented by September 15, 2020. This way the government is keen on strengthening the tourism sector to re-emerge as one of the top destinations.
Following are the key features of the plan:
- The financing and promotion investment will be $28 million. The Government is also considering investing $7.1 million in other programs to guarantee air routes, through an agreement with the airlines.
- The Plan also allows for relaxed monetary and fiscal policy, a loan guarantee program, credit assistance for small and medium-sized businesses, and special health insurance provided by the Dominican government, for tourists who may be affected by COVID-19.
- Travelers would be subjected to random quick tests as against any prior test before entering the country, or massive tests carried out upon arrival.
- Visitors would be required to follow social distancing and wear masks during their stay.
- A “sanitary bubble” will be created for the hotel employees so that they stay as long as possible within the hotel grounds.
- A free and temporary travel assistance plan will be provided to all tourists, until December 2020. Along with emergency coverage, it will cover COVID-19 tests and associated costs for a long-term stay.
- The Ministry will be starting the process of certifying the new protocol with its tourism partners for better international practices.
- In order to expand the tourism sector’s portfolio, the government held meetings with the Inter-American Development Bank last Friday, in order to outline the implementation of the credit-risk transfer program.
The plan will be managed by a new tourism cabinet under the direction of the new Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism, David Collado. The Tourism Minister is working in tandem with the private sector to ensure the full recovery of the tourism industry and begin a new stage in 2021.