Hoteliers hope tourists will be able to stay on the beaches without crowds. The president of the Dominican Republic’s Hotel and Tourism Association (Asonahores), Paola Rainieri complained that Asonahores was not contacted before the Civil Defense announced beaches were closing. She understands the restrictive measure was announced to reduce the risk of crowds spreading Covid-19. She argued that the numbers of guests at the beach resorts and hotels is small, so beach-going should continue to be allowed at the hotels that follow the physical distancing protocols.
Listin Diario says that when trying to confirm the beaches’ closing, no one in government was available to give a straight answer. The newspaper said that Civil Defense spokesperson Puro de la Cruz said he could not tell if the measure also applies to the tourism industry.
Gustavo Montalvo, coordinator of the High Commission for the Prevention of Coronavirus, is expected to give details on the new measures on Tuesday, 21 July in the morning. Previously, he had said the tourism sector would continue to be allowed to operate.
Rainieri said the industry is awaiting the announcement of the details. “This is a measure that I clearly understand is to avoid crowding,” Rainieri said when interviewed by Listin Diario. She said the tourism sector is hard at work for the recovery of the industry.
Hotel occupancy is estimated to now be at 10% from practically zero at the start of June.
Rainieri said that the sector has not yet quantified how many tourists have arrived since airports just reopened on 1 July 2020. “The numbers go up and down, and when things like this (beach closing announcement) come about, things get more complicated,” she lamented, in the interview with Listin Diario.
She reported that last week, with the uncertainty of whether or not the airports were going to be closed due to the new state of emergency, the airlines and tour operators “got nervous.” She said all that generates insecurity, and therefore, cancellations, which negatively impacts the sector.
“Sadly, the authorities tend to make statements without understanding the impact their words have on Dominican tourism when we could be handling things very differently if we were thinking about tourism (…). This week we have been hit by the lack of clarity in the announcement. It is hard on the sector and surely arrivals will be down,” she remarked. She said the travel industry reacts to good and bad news in the same way as the stock market. “We’ll have to see at the end of the month,” Rainieri said.
The spokesperson for Aerodom, the operator of Las Americas International Airport (SDQ), Luis Lopez Mena said that Decree 266-20 in its item #8 authorizes international traveler transit. He said this means that night flights continue to be authorized, despite the curfew. Nevertheless, Lopez Mena said the government has not yet said what documents the travelers will need to show to transit during curfew hours, as reported in Diario Libre.
21 July 2020