Here is a portion of an interesting article from today’s The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/travel/dominican-republic-tourism-pandemic.html)
The Dominican Republic is a rare pandemic success story, with recent visitor numbers far surpassing those of most other Caribbean destinations. Easy entry rules are a draw, but some residents are uneasy. Some had come for the beach, some had come for the sun, others had picked it because, at the time, the Covid numbers seemed reasonable. Many had chosen it over resort destinations because getting there seemed easy.
In December the Dominican Republic drew 700,000 visitors from abroad, more than it had attracted not only before the pandemic, but in any single month ever, according to the Ministry of Tourism. That pushed 2021 totals to nearly five million visitors, more than any other country in the Caribbean. In December, some financial analysts calculated that the country was having its best year economically in 30 years. Punta Cana isn’t the only getaway that’s booming in the Dominican Republic. Las Terrenas, a small seaside town that tends to attract a crowd that despises all-inclusive, has exploded in popularity during the pandemic.
The Dominican Republic’s visitor figures have to do, in part, with its unconventional strategy for gaining a competitive advantage. Unlike most Caribbean beach destinations, the country doesn’t require proof of vaccination, a Covid test or quarantine for most incoming travelers. Instead, authorities have chosen to manage Covid by pushing vaccination and mask wearing among those who interact with tourists. Nearly 100 percent of the 174,000 people who work in the tourism sector are vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Tourism. And though all-inclusive resorts require only a reservation to enter, many banks, government institutions and some shopping malls, and public transportation require proof of vaccination or a recent P.C.R. test.
“We knew it was a risk and we wanted to take it,” Jacqueline Mora, the deputy minister of tourism, said in a recent phone interview. The strategy has worked, she added, noting that the country estimates that it earned around $5.7 billion from tourism last year while maintaining a Covid death rate lower not only than Mexico, the other major beach destination to take a similarly lax approach to entry, but also many far more restrictive countries, including the United States.
The arrival of the virus had come at a terrible time for the Dominican Republic’s tourism industry. When the country opened back up to tourists in July 2020, authorities briefly required visitors to show the results of a recent test. Then in August, President Abinader, who has a long history in the tourism industry, took office. The strategy began to revolve around making entry as easy as possible. Through last April, the country offered to cover the costs of medical care, lodging and flight changes, should guests fall sick with Covid. The airport did continue testing some visitors randomly, a policy that continues, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The Dominican Republic has been one of the two most popular destinations for get vacations because travelers don’t want to deal with restrictions and because resorts fill up their rooms, keeping prices reasonable. If you are thinking to travel or get vacation abroad, the Dominican Republic is the best option.
Source: The New York Times
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