Local February 25, 2015 | 8:15 am

US Envoy regrets Dominican Republic shuns gay tourists

Santo Domingo.- United States ambassador James W. Brewster on Tuesday expressed his regret that the Tourism Ministry doesn’t open the country’s doors to tourism for the LGBT community in his nation, which he affirms spends as much as US$1.4 billion.

He said it seems Dominican Republic is only interested in certain types of visitors, judging from comments by Tourism minister Francisco Javier García, who reportedly said the country isn’t interested in exploiting that potential market. "When the official who is the leadership of the Dominican government says they don’t want a certain group of people, it places us in a difficult situation to support tourism in this country."

The diplomat said the country needs to revert that situation to send a message that it doesn’t discriminate and is open equally to all.

"That’s an important message, because obviously people want to go where they know they will not be discriminated against. When a person goes on holiday they have the opportunity to decide where to spend their money. And not just the 1.4 billion spent by the LGBT community, but also all their friends that accompany them and they’ll not go to a place where they are not welcome."

Warmth of Dominicans

Brewster, interviewed by elcaribe.com.do, said despite having felt discriminated for his sexual orientation at some point, stressed the Dominican people’s “extraordinary” hospitality and warmth.

"That’s always seen. We don’t need to keep insisting on the some people statements, but that being said, I do not think they in fact speak on behalf of the Dominican people, because our experience has been extraordinary. Everywhere we go people greets us warmly. Sometimes people express apology for statements made by others," Brewster said, accompanied by his husband Bob Satawake, Public Affairs Counselor James Russo, and Press Attaché Jeremiah Knight,

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