Government, IDB and Asonahores agree to rescue 35 beaches from erosion and manage sargassum

President Luis Abinader was in Boca Chica on Monday, 23 November 2020 for the signing of two agreements for better coastal management with the National Hotel & Tourism Association.

One of the agreements is for improvements at 35 beaches. It was signed between the Ministry of Tourism, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the National Association of Hotels and Tourism (Asonahores). Beach regeneration will include engineering works to revert or mitigate erosion. A large number of possible environmental and conservation measures have been identified. The agreement is a follow-up to the contract signed on 11 May 2019 with the IH Cantabria consulting firm for the “Feasibility Study for Comprehensive Coastal Management funded by the IDB (ATN/OC-16820-DR. The findings will then serve to carry out the terms of reference for the regeneration and recovery of the beaches. The IDB is providing a donation of US$400,000 to kick start the project.

Tourism Minister David Collado, IDB representative Miguel Coronado Hunter, and Asonahores president Paola Rainieri, signed the agreement.

The other agreement signed between the Ministry of Tourism and Asonahores is for implementing solutions to the sargassum problem affecting coastal areas. The agreement was signed by Asonahores with the Ministry of Tourism.

A five-year fund is created with US$11,891,884. A committee made up by a representatives of Asonahores, three hotel sector representatives and a representative of the Ministry of Tourism will manage the fund. The Dominican government will contribute RD$156 million for the placement of sargassum barriers. The private sector will match the contribution.

These resources are to purchase the installation of 31,524 linear meters of anti-sargassum barriers, or similar solutions, in the beach areas of Punta Cana, Bavaro, Cabeza de Toro, Arena Blanca and Uvero Alto.

Commenting on the agreements, President Abinader said that defending and taking care of the coastal resources is a priority task for his administration. The agreement is a step in the right direction, he said. He described beaches as the most important natural asset for attracting tourists and investments.

President Abinader spoke of the country’s 279 beaches, distributed along more than 1,600 kilometers of coast. “We are aware that the beaches are the habitat of many living beings that make up the ecological balance of the country,” he said.

In these times of pandemic, he added, the beaches have been the space par excellence where people can leave their homes’ confines and connect with their loved ones without breaking health protocols.

“Today I am very happy, because once again we are fulfilling our promise to make a real and lasting change,” he said.

“These agreements are a clear reflection that our administration is not waiting for the storm to pass, but that we are learning to dance in the rain,” said Abinader.

Meanwhile, the president of Asonahores, Paola Rainieri, called the sargassum agreement “a transcendental step, a new achievement in the public-private partnership” that the government launched from its start in August.

The agreement, which is valid for five years, was signed by David Collado, Minister of Tourism, and Paola Rainieri, President of Asonahores.

In case of sargassum in other different areas, the commission will identify in the shortest time the amounts required and the necessary mechanisms for the installation of barriers in those areas.

Asonahores commits to present, in less than three months, proposals from experienced companies for the floating barriers.

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23 November 2020