Random rapid testing of selected travellers is just one of the measures being implemented as part of the Dominican Republic’s just-released tourism recovery plan.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, President Luis Abinader Corona revealed the set of health and safety initiatives developed to address the tourism industry’s challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure that the country is a safe travel destination.
“Our goal is to minimize the effects of the [COVID-19] 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, the country’s Minister of Tourism, explained that the government’s administration had been meeting with the Association of Hotels and Tourism of Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES) to better understand the concerns of tourists and the needs of the industry.
“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 travellers, who visit either for vacation, business, investment opportunities or returning to their preferred second home.”
The random rapid testing of selected travellers using tests such as the diagnostic breath test for COVID-19 is set to begin at the end of September 2020. Once the rapid testing initiative is in place, the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival will be eliminated.
Other measures in the Plan for the Responsible Recovery of Tourism include:
- 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 event. This insurance will be provided at no cost to the visitor until December 2020 and will be 100 percent 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.
- Labour regulations will be adapted to minimize and mitigate risks for employees.
The government said that the plan is in the process of being certified by the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels and Bureau Veritas, both world leaders in health, sanitation and safety certifications for the tourism sector.
The plan will be managed by a new “Tourism Cabinet,” led by President Abinader with the Minister of Tourism serving as executive director.