“A government has a duty to maintain stability in its country. So to get there, we bet on openness. That’s why we opened our borders to tourism very early in 2021. »
” During the pandemic, the Dominican Republic decided to see the glass half full. And not half empty. We quickly reopened our country to tourism, doing it responsibly. Because many people here live from tourism.
” We made decisions based on the circumstances at the time. We were convinced that was the only option. »
These are the first lines of the presentation given by the Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, David Collado, last Friday, April 29 in Montreal, in front of a crowd of 180 people from all areas of our industry (to, agencies, airlines, media, etc.).
Here is the rest of the outline of his presentation.
“Quickly, the inhabitants of our country began to believe in the strategy put forward to save our main industry, that of tourism.
“With us, more than 1 million Dominicans live off tourism. We didn’t want to leave them out of work. And that’s why we worked very hard on reopening our country to tourism.
“Then the Dominican Republic quickly emerged as the country that best managed tourism in a pandemic setting. The WHO has recognized this.
“Of the 2 million Covid tests that were randomly carried out at arrival airports in the Dominican Republic, there was a positivity rate of only 3%. »
Dom Rep-Canada relationship
“The relationship between the Dominican Republic and Canada is like a marital relationship. We know we have to come to you, here in Canada, to win Canadians over again, to give them flowers. Show them the beautiful side of the Dominican Republic.
“Because the Dominican is a bit jealous… He doesn’t want the Canadian to go to another country…”
Strengthen infrastructure and security
“While Canadians were unable to come and visit us, we took the opportunity to strengthen our infrastructure, strengthen security on our beaches.
“Canadians who return to us, they find not the problems, but the love and our best hospitality.
Samana: a new favorite destination for Americans
“Samana is an important destination. Several Canadians and French have decided to take up residence in Samana. It is sublime for its beaches, its mountains, its nature.
“That said, during the pandemic, due to location closures around the world, the American film industry has been looking for a new location to shoot. Samana has proven to be a favorite destination for this industry. And in all, the Americans shot 12 films in Samana and in different places in the Dominican Republic during the pandemic.
“It had an impact on strengthening our country, and particularly Samana, with the Americans.
Miches: the next major tourist destination
“We are in the process of designing a heavenly place: Miches. This is where Club Med is. Currently, the owners of Punta Cana Airport and founders of Punta Cana, the Rainieri family, are investing $200 million to build a new hotel in the town of Miches.
“Another major tourist project is being built, the Viva Wyndham Resorts Miches, with 750 rooms (Editor’s note: a project which represents an investment of 3,500 million Dominican pesos and which will create 2,000 jobs in the region).
“We want to make Miches an exemplary destination. The private sector has guaranteed the investment of 1,000 million pesos, the public sector has guaranteed investments in money, access to beaches, aqueducts and waste recycling infrastructure, all so that Miches becomes an exemplary destination. »
Punta Cana: the backbone of tourism in Rep dom
“The Dominican Republic has strong tourism and 50% of all tourists choose Punta Cana and enter the country through the airport there. During the pandemic, we therefore understood that it was via Punta Cana that we had to bring our tourists back to our island.
Hope, that sacred feeling of humanity
“The pandemic has hit the world, without warning. The pandemic has shattered the most sensitive feeling in human beings: hope. And yes, at a certain point, we had lost hope of recovering our tourism…
“We were thinking then of our hundreds of thousands of Dominicans who live from tourism. And we thought of this industry in general, at home as elsewhere. We asked ourselves: how many tourist operators have closed?, how many agencies have closed?, how many of our friends have lost their lives?
“Every day, we fed on this feeling, on this fear of having lost friends.
“But we also told ourselves that we only have one life, and one heart. Quickly, we understood that we had to move forward. We had no doubt that we had to seek help from the greats of our country.
“In every country there are stars. And with us, one of those stars is Juan Luis Guerra. We knocked on his door and said “get out of your house and come promote the Dominican Republic with us!” »
” He accepted. He agreed to revive this hope, with music. »
Photos: Isabelle Chagnon