Tourism September 23, 2020 | 4:02 pm

Complete speech by David Collado when presenting internal tourism plan

Minister of Tourism David Collado

Minister of Tourism David Collado presented today the internal tourism incentive plan in the Dominican Republic that will begin next Monday.

The activity was also led by President Luis Abinader and Vice President Raquel Peña and other authorities from the tourism sector.

Here is the full speech by David Collado:

“Good morning, Constitutional President of the Dominican Republic Mr. Luis Abinader Corona, good morning to all our allies, friends, and collaborators, who once again come to another call for solidarity, support, and work in favor of Dominican households.

Since the middle of March, our country, our citizens, and the world began a new way of living, operating, and relating. We started an unknown path towards an unfamiliar place, but with the sole purpose of protecting the life and health of every one of the inhabitants of the planet. Today marks 190 days since the first initiative was launched in the face of COVID-19, and 186 days since all our borders were permanently closed. We have already completed six months of this covidianity. 

As many of you know, since before our arrival, we have not rested, seeking solutions to minimize the tremendous impact that all this has had on the entire tourism value chain, and therefore on jobs, quality of life, and hope of thousands of Dominican households. More than 500,000 Dominicans are affected by the economic consequences that COVID-19 has had on tourism.

The Government has designed support mechanisms for companies and the most vulnerable households. Hundreds of initiatives have been carried out from the private sector to protect our people, and thousands of strategies have been designed daily from within the homes not to lose hope. 

Tourism is undoubtedly a crucial activity for our country. Tourism has led us to have the most modern and complete air infrastructure in Central America and the Caribbean. We are leaders in the arrival of tourists in the region and leaders in attracting sector investment.

The sector has significant links with other sectors such as agriculture, transportation, gastronomy, wood industry, construction, furniture industry, energy, commerce, health, and real estate.

Its value chain is vast and includes hotels, local travel agencies, tour operators, ports and airports, land transport, bars, restaurants, culture, excursions, sports, gift shops, and water parks. Without a doubt, when it comes to tourism in the Americas, we are an authority. We have 84,000 rooms in the country in 823 hotels.

Of these rooms, 71,000 belong to 49 hotel chains, mostly of foreign origin, from Spain, the United States, Canada, Austria, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore, and Turkey. Here today, some of their representatives join us.

Recovering tourism is not an option. It cannot be left for later. It is a duty and a commitment that we have assumed responsibly. But this recovery must be inclusive, thinking of everyone. Today we take another step in this direction. Today we unite to support the Dominican middle class. It is not a secret that the middle class has been gaining space in our country and strengthening our ability to continue advancing and growing.

In all the world countries, and mainly in the Dominican Republic, these households are undoubtedly the main direct or indirect contributors to public finances. Their entrepreneurial spirit shapes our future and leads them to fight day by day for their dreams. It was this class who was responsible and the leader of the change.

It is, without a doubt, the most optimistic class, and for this reason, it is the most indebted class. This shock has been hard for them, and compensation mechanisms reach them in a more limited way. The bank, which is with us today, has been crucial in supporting these households. The small and medium entrepreneurs of travel agencies and tour operators are part of this class that struggles and is also fundamental in the tourist chain.

The growth of tourism and hotel investment has helped forge this social class, and government leadership has large middle-class representatives. This class does not ask for perks or favors. They just want to have the option to continue having the opportunity to use their work and creativity to move their family forward. That is why today, we all come together to present this plan to support domestic tourism, as one of the responsible responses to the middle class and its well-being, in addition to economic recovery.

I will leave you with President Luis Abinader, who will present more details about the plan.