Tourism March 20, 2021 | 11:00 am

Vaccination of hotel staff in process; protocol to be followed during Easter Week

Santo Domingo, DR

The president of the Association of Hotels and Tourism of Dominican Republic (Asonahores), Rafi Blanco, said that the vaccination of the hotel personnel would be a process. Meanwhile, the implementation of the protocols of the tourist sector for Holy Week continues.

When consulted by Listin Diario, Blanco commented that for Easter Week, a national occupancy rate is projected to be around 43% of the total number of rooms, with an increase of 32.3% of what it was in February.

“This indicates a clear upward trend, corroborating the information we have from the issuing markets that we should start to feel an increase in demand as a result of the successful vaccination processes, mainly in the United States, as well as in the Dominican Republic,” expressed the hoteliers’ representative.

Meanwhile, the president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Projects of the East (Asoleste), Ernesto Veloz, assured that according to information from the Health Cabinet, there is the expectation to start the vaccination of hotel personnel. This process has already been coordinated to begin when the facilities are provided.

“We are not going to provide the vaccines. We are going to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to provide them. That is the commitment we have assumed,” said Veloz.

He argued that they are still waiting for the logistics to be implemented for the vaccination. Still, the hotels will be ready for Easter Week thanks to the reinforcement of the sanitary protocol, which is expected to be fulfilled with an increase of the room capacity to 80%.

“The fact of not violating the protocols gives you a guarantee that things have been done in a very rigid way and the Ministry of Tourism is very demanding in complying with them. We intend to have all our employees vaccinated by that date, but if not, the protocols will continue to be implemented even if they are vaccinated. It is doubtful that we will generate a chain of contagion, although it is best to have the vaccine already applied,” the hotelier pointed out.

Guarantee to visitors

The president of the Association of Hotels and the Tourist Cluster La Romana Bayahibe, Andrés Fernández, considered that including tourism in the National Plan of Vaccination against the COVID is a guarantee for the tourists. However, they respect that it was started with the elderly and with comorbidities.

Regarding the expectations that the country would receive around 100,000 tourists from the United States during Easter Week, Fernandez indicated that the protocols applied not only by the hotels but by all the actors of the tourism value chain in La Romana are maintained to ensure the complete sanitary safety of tourists to the destination.

“The vaccination plan which was formed by the Cabinet of Health of the government initially had not designated the tourism sector as a priority for the vaccination, but it started, and it seems to us very logical, with the sanitary and military personnel and then by destinations,” commented Fernandez after being consulted by Listin Diario.

The representative of the hoteliers of this destination added that La Romana had a vaccination plan. Still, it only included those over 60 years old, and that there has not been a specific plan for tourism, “at least in La Romana.”

He pointed out that only hotel workers who the vaccination plan has covered have been vaccinated, that is to say, those within the age range allowed.

He added that the rest must wait for us to enter that vaccination plan that is already designed.

“I understand that all sectors should have been vaccinated and especially tourism which is very much in contact with the people who visit us and the more health guarantees we can offer, the better, but we also understand that the government has a limited number of vaccines; therefore, it is applying its criteria when applying them to the population,” opined Fernandez.

For the coming Holy Week, the Dominican hotel sector maintains high expectations with the arrival of 100,000 tourists from the U.S. tourist market, suggesting a recovery in the Dominican Republic’s tourism activity.

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