Dominican Republic Announces New Safety Measures

by Jessica Montevago
Dominican Republic Announces New Safety Measures

In the wake of unrelenting media attention about American tourist deaths and illnesses, the country is taking steps to strengthen travelers' confidence. Photo: Shutterstock

The Dominican Republic's tourism ministry announced on Thursday a series of new safety measures “to strengthen the confidence of the traveling public.”

The new precautions range from inspecting hotels more often and requiring hotels to post emergency contact information in every guest room to adding more monitoring measures to medical facilities located inside hotels and opening an emergency tourist center.

A multilingual emergency center, which is being established in Bávaro, home to popular tourist destination Punta Cana, the country’s Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier García said in a statement.

In addition, hotel inspections – which will be doubled – now include detailed food handling protocols as well as comprehensive information on all food and beverage suppliers. Over the next few weeks, hotels will be required to post an emergency information card in every guest room with ways to contact embassies, the tourism police force, and 911 services.

Qualifications of the medical personnel working inside first aid facilities at hotels will be checked for licensing requirements and training, according to García, and the country’s Department of Tourism Services and Companies will also closely monitor the medical offices within hotels.

Pools and other water facilities will also be inspected to ensure that the required certified lifeguards are in place, he said.

“We have always worked hard to create a safe environment and will continue to be vigilant with comprehensive programs and amplified standards that bolster the well-being of the six million tourists that visit the Dominican Republic each year,” García said in the statement.

The State Department confirmed earlier this week that a Georgia man died in the Dominican Republic in March, bringing the number of confirmed U.S. tourist deaths there this year to 10. The Ministry of Health Communications Director Carlos Suero told CNN last month that the FBI is assisting Dominican Republic officials with the toxicology tests of three American tourists. Island officials have also invited the ATF and the CDC to join in on the investigation.


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