When bad things happen, people like logical explanations that they can wrap their head around. When 11 American tourists died of mysterious causes this past spring while staying at various resorts across the Dominican Republic, it was the uncertainty and fear that drove headlines. The uncertainty prompted a tourism crisis, with the island nation drawing record low crowds, to the point where the status quo is in serious worry. To win back tourists, the country has announced a series of safety and security measures to go along with the genuine bargains…
Specifically, the Dominican Republic has created a tourist emergency centre near Punta Cana, which aims to provide medical and travel support at the highest standards of western medicine. There are multi lingual specialists on hand, and the clinic specifically caters to foreign guests staying on the island. Furthermore, greater standards in emergency management, including “911” access in every room are now mandatory. Essentially, if something does go wrong, it’s a lot clearer to know when and where to go.
After rumours of tainted food, water or alcohol spread with viral effect, the Dominican Republic has also announced a partnership with Ecolab, a hygiene technology lab to standardize and update all standards across the tourism industry. Nonetheless, people are still a bit freaked out, but for a place which has long been one of the most beloved Caribbean destinations, this is a strong step.
Of course, in the political climate we all currently enjoy, Robin Bernstein, the US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic couldn’t help but take shots at the media for spreading “rumours” and “negative unfounded campaigns” about the mysterious circumstances of the 11 tourists deaths, as if that sort of thing is somehow normal for a tourist destination. Good luck with that.
But with more than 2.7 million American visitors on average, it’s still statistically one of the safer tourist destinations in the area, and like all issues of supply and demand, there are bargains to be had right now. The tourist crunch has dropped resort prices dramatically, which means if you have been thinking about visiting the Dominican, it’s statistically about as affordable now as it’s ever been, and with these new measures in place to safeguard tourists, mixed with a big “win back” campaign, now might be the perfect time.