Major tourism breakthrough

Foreigners holding up-to-date passports and visas issued by the United States, Canada, European Union or the United Kingdom will now be able to enter the DR with the purchase of a tourist card and not a visa as previously required, according to Decree 690-07 issued this week by President Leonel Fernandez. The measure comes at a time when tourism to the Caribbean is on the decline, and acknowledges the importance of tourism and foreign investors for the Dominican economy. With a modern travel vision, it recognizes that those countries have better systems to screen unwanted visitors than the DR.

Complementary Decree 691-07 derogates the visa requirement for tourists from Andorra, Bahrain, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, the North Marianas Islands, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Micronesia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Qatar, South Africa, Romania, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. These will now also be able to enter with the purchase of a tourist card.

Dominican Ambassador to India Hans Dannenberg stressed that the decree is a major step towards achieving regional connectivity with Asia and Africa. Both Dannenberg and Dominican ambassador in Qatar, Hugo Guiliani are lobbying for direct air link from the Middle East to the DR so that travelers no longer have to make stopovers in Europe or the US to travel to the DR.

The decrees opens doors for visits from tourists and investors from several affluent countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Brunei, Kuwait, Qatar and South Africa as countries from where investors and tourists could be attracted.

He also mentioned that the elimination of visa requirement for Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius and Seychelles is part of a reciprocal visa treatment, following these countries’ elimination of the requirement for Dominican citizens.

He also commented that the visa requirement follows diplomatic efforts for increased integration through European Union-sponsored ACP meetings, at the United Nations and other international forums.