SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Sept. 12, 2019– Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier García will deliver an update on the official state of the country’s tourism and sustained security efforts following heightened attention regarding the traveling public. The briefing, coordinated by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel, New York, in conjunction with Dominican Week.
Minister García will introduce a Presidential Decree that establishes the National Committee of Tourism Security, composed of 16 essential government agencies, the Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES), and the Association of Tour Operators. Together, they will further develop policies, strategies and programs for the prevention and detection of threats that undermine the country’s security. The formation of the National Committee of Tourism Security follows the completion of an Interagency Tourism Safety and Security Review commenced by order of the President in January of this year.
Following Minister García’s presentation integral members of the tourism sector will address on-going operations and the continued growth of the tourism industry. Moderated by Mark Murphy, president and CEO of TravAlliancemedia, the panel will include Rafael Blanco Tejera, First Vice President, ASONAHORES; Alex Zozaya, Executive Chairman, Apple Leisure Group; Bruce D. Wardinski, Chairman and CEO, Playa Hotels & Resorts.
Also in attendance will be Consul General of the Dominican Republic in New York Carlos Castillo and the United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Robin Bernstein who will offer closing remarks.
During his presentation, Minister García will also highlight measures that specifically address the quality control of food and beverage preparation and handling, as well as emergency protocols within the country’s hotel facilities.
The measures include the following:
STRINGENT INSPECTION AND COMPLIANCE STANDARDS
Under the purview of the Ministry, the Department of Tourism Services and Companies is doubling inspection capacities in tourist destinations throughout the country. Further, the department will continue to closely monitor the medical offices within the hotel facilities and scrutinize the professional qualifications of its doctors and staff. Heightened inspections and oversight will also extend to all aquatic facilities and their required certified lifeguard services.
IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO EMERGENCY INFORMATION
Reinforced mandates require that emergency information and the availability of 911 is clearly posted in every guest room. Additionally, hotel staff will be required to review the information with each guest at the time of check-in to further emphasize access to emergency services.
EMERGENCY TOURIST CENTER
In cooperation with the Attorney General, a multi-lingual emergency center is being established in Bávaro, a primary tourist destination in Punta Cana. The center will be staffed by a team of multi-lingual specialists who will serve as direct liaisons to streamline communications between tourists, their families, and the necessary government entity.
The government’s commitment to the well-being of the traveling public is re-affirmed by the ongoing development and announcement of subsequent initiatives, and the engagement of third-party partners and accreditation programs.
INTERNATIONAL SERVSAFE CERTIFICATION
To further advance the strengthening of the supervision within the hotels and with a view towards sustainable tourism, the Ministry has partnered with Quimocaribe S.A.S. and Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services, to provide ServSafe training and certification to all Department of Tourism Services and Companies inspectors. ServSafe is updated with the Food and Drug Administration food code with the experience of industry experts and is accredited by the Conference on Food Protection of the American National Institute of Standards.
PUNTA CANA MEDICAL CENTER INTERNATIONAL GOLD ACCREDITATION
The Punta Cana Medical Center became the first hospital in the country to receive international GOLD Accreditation by Qmentum International-Accreditation Canada. The prestigious designation is the result of a rigorous two-year evaluation of ongoing process development and health service management governed by the strictest standards of excellence in patient care and safety. Accreditation Canada, an institution endorsed by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQUA), has positively influenced more than 1,100 health care and social services organizations on five continents.
The recently introduced measures and enhanced standards advance the country’s intense focus on its emergency response and security infrastructure.
SUSTAINED COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY
Throughout the past five years, a 911 system was implemented throughout the Dominican Republic under a federal initiative, with specific availability in the popular resort areas. The National Police and CESTUR were also expanded to include 4,000 additional agents.
Security was further bolstered by the Urban Surveillance System of more than 3,000 public security cameras that are monitored 24/7 by the country’s 911 Operation Centers. In 2018, proactive programs resulted in a 27 percent decrease in the number of criminal acts reported against foreign tourists over the previous year and contributed to the country’s recognition among the safest in the region. Further, the U.S. State Department has maintained a level two advisory to the Dominican Republic, a designation shared with 50 highly developed countries in the region, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The country’s rating has remained unchanged since the advisory system was first introduced in 2018.
The Ministry remains committed to the safety and well-being of all tourists and strengthening the confidence of the traveling public. The highest levels of the Dominican government have remained personally dedicated to overseeing each and every investigation and maintaining an open dialogue with the U.S. Embassy and U.S. officials.
AN ONGOING THOROUGH INVESTIGATION
Conforming to the laws of the country, comprehensive autopsies have been completed in a timely manner and in each specific instance, the findings were natural causes. At the request of Dominican authorities, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is conducting toxicology tests in three specific cases to bring clarity to unsubstantiated speculation and perceived similarities. The FBI is acting independently to ensure objectivity and results will be shared at their discretion.
The Dominican government’s commitment to collaboration was further emphasized on July 2, 2019, when Ambassador Pérez embraced Senator Chuck Schumer’s suggestion of increased U.S. involvement and formally requested a full review by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
About Dominican Republic
Well known for off-the-beaten-path excursions, rich culture, endless amenities and year-round perfect climate, Dominican Republic is a place like no other. Easily accessible via a direct flight from most major airports, it is an ideal oasis for celebrities, couples and families alike. From hiking trails to undiscovered beaches and world-class golf courses, here you can renew in our luxurious and diverse accommodations, explore ancient relics of centuries past, revel in Dominican fare, or enjoy ecotourism adventures in our magnificent national parks, mountain ranges and rivers.
Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the north, Dominican Republic features a variety of sports, recreation and entertainment options, exclusive cultural experiences like dancing, carnival festivities, plus Dominican specialties such as cigars, rum, chocolate, coffee, amber and larimar. Between adventurous Puerto Plata, lush Samaná, historic Santo Domingo, sunny Punta Cana, luxe La Romana, bustling Barahona and more, each area has something for every type of traveler and budget.
In addition to its uncharted experiences coast to coast, the country has also generated a worldwide reputation for its warm, and hospitable people. With eight international airports and nine distinct ecological zones it has never been more accessible or appealing to explore Dominican Republic. To learn more and begin planning your trip visit the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official website at: www.godominicanrepublic.com
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This material is distributed by Rubenstein Public Relations on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic in New York. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, DC.