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With new health and safety regulations in place, enticing travel deals and a complimentary insurance program for visitors, the Dominican Republic is welcoming tourists back to its shores.
The Caribbean destination recently unveiled its Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan details a number of internationally certified health protocols that apply to its entire travel industry, including restaurants and bars.
A win for both advisors and clients, the Caribbean destination is also offering a temporary insurance program, valid through December.
All visitors arriving on commercial flights and staying in a hotel are now granted a travel assistance plan that includes coverage for emergencies, telemedicine, lodging for prolonged stays and costs for changing flights in the event of an infection.
“I love the travel assistance plan because it provides additional peace of mind to travelers,” said Jenn Earley of Cultured Vacations in Atlanta.
Earley noted that it may have appeal to clients who are hesitant to travel and worry about the additional cost incurred if they test positive while outside U.S. borders.
“This is definitely a selling point for the destination,” she added.
This is definitely a selling point for the destination.
As expected, social distancing and using masks is mandatory. However, the need for a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival has been eliminated.
Instead, diagnostic breath tests will be performed on randomly selected travelers and those who have symptoms, and temperature checks are given to all.
Also part of the plan, a “sanitary bubble” safety strategy has been implemented at hotels to ensure that employees stay as long as possible within the facilities. A bubble consists of a team of employees working for two weeks and staying in a designated area of the hotel. Prior to arrival for their twoweek shifts, employees are required to show proof of a recently administered negative COVID-19 test.
Additional measures are underway at several resorts. At Playa Hotels & Resorts, operations have been overhauled to include everything from regular health screenings and temperature checks for associates to the use of QR codes as a way to book amenities and browse restaurant menus.
“Food and beverage [offerings] have been reimagined, so buffets are now assisted but can offer the same impressive varieties of foods,” said Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Playa Hotels & Resorts. “Restaurants now offer takeout services, and room service has been revamped with sealed, contactless delivery. We worked hard with our hotel teams to be able to ensure that the guest experience would not be inferior because of protocols such as these.”
The incredibly deep deals currently on offer provide additional leverage for travel planners. Jeffrey Lee, product director of the Caribbean for Pleasant Holidays, cites 50% off a stay at Casa de Campo Resort and Villas, as well as more than 65% off a trip to the new Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana.
“We’ve seen a greater demand for adults-only resorts booked with a shorter booking window — just a few weeks prior to departure in many cases,” Lee said. “Bookings for travel to the Dominican Republic in the second and third quarters of next year are also on the rise.”
With stringent health and safety protocols and massive deals, is now the right time to send clients to the Dominican Republic? For Felicia R. Fencl, the CEO and senior executive travel coordinator at First Choice Travel Group, LLC, the answer is clear.
“I want my clients to know that they are welcome in the Dominican Republic, and their safety and health are paramount,” she said. “I would not send my clients anywhere I wouldn’t go myself.”
The DetailsDominican Republic Ministry of Tourismwww.godominicanrepublic.com