Tourism Ministry to enact Congressman Espaillat’s suggestions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic will implement recommendations offered by Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) to improve safety models for the protection of tourists in the Dominican Republic. Espaillat published these recommendations after his visit to the country earlier this month, during which he met with leaders of the tourism industry and officials of the Embassy of the United States.
Congressman Espaillat recommended that the Tourism Ministry continue working with hotels to ensure that tourists and guests have access to emergency services and standardized information on emergency services, such as how to communicate with the local 911 system, publishing it in hotel rooms and as information delivered to all hotels and resorts.
The chief of staff of the Ministry of Tourism, Pablo Espinal, spoke with CNN en Espanol and indicated that in the coming weeks, each hotel in the country will be asked to publish an emergency information card in all rooms with ways to communicate with the embassies, the tourism police and the 911 services.
Espaillat recommended that the country continue to deepen the coordination between the Office of the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic and the law enforcement agencies of the United States, including the ATF and the FBI, as this would help ensure coordination in a timely manner on any case involving the death of a citizen of the United States.
CNN reported that the FBI has a team of researchers on the island that assists in the toxicology tests of deaths of three Americans. In addition, island officials have also invited the ATF and the CDC to join the investigation.
Additionally, Congressman Espaillat recommended that the Ministry of Tourism take the existing international standards to control the quality of food and alcohol offered in hotels and resorts to apply a more robust and double review.
Espinal explained to CNN that hotels that have been inspected twice a year in the past will be inspected four times a year, including a detailed food and beverage inspection.
Congressman Espaillat also recommended that the Ministry of Tourism offer health insurance at low cost to tourists and praised the fact that the entity will take more measures to monitor the medical facilities located inside the hotels and will create an emergency center for tourists.
“The growth and expansion of the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic must be paired with the safety and well-being of travelers, and I am pleased that the country’s Ministry of Tourism is implementing the necessary measures to keep this important sector of tourism which is vital in the Dominican economy,” said Congressman Espaillat. “The Dominican Republic continues to be one of the main tourist destinations for Americans, and I remain committed to working with the country to ensure this trend continues and the safety and welfare of tourists remains a priority.”
According to reports from the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, among the total of tourists who visit the island each year, 41.6% (equivalent to 2,334,987 travelers in 2018) come from the United States of America (USA), the country’s main trading partner.