Dominican Republic Eliminates Mandatory COVID-19 Tests, Adds Free Insurance As Part of New Tourism Recovery Plan
With many Caribbean nations competing for the economic boost of much-needed tourism dollars, the Dominican Republic made some policy changes to make visiting the island a bit easier.
As part of its newly announced "Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan," visitors will no longer be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country, starting Sept. 15. Additionally, mass testing will not be performed at the airport upon arrival, but will instead be done at random.
To ease some of the concerns of would-be travelers, the Ministry of Tourism, tourists visiting a hotel will be offered a temporary, free travel assistance plan until December 2020. In addition to general emergency coverage, the free insurance plan covers COVID-19 testing, as well as cost coverage for long-term stays should a traveler fall ill or need to quarantine.
According to a statement from the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, the recovery plan “seeks to minimize the effects of the pandemic and promote a responsible recovery that prioritizes health, maximizes the potential for job creation and economic growth, and encourages the sector to continue developing in a sustainable way.”
The four parts of the Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan include governance, risk management, communication, and financial support for the private sector. The Plan includes a promotion and financing investment of $28 million, as well as a $7.1 million investment in other programs to guarantee air routes through an agreement with the airlines. Other portions of the plan include a loan guarantee program, credit help for small and medium-sized businesses, and more.
"We have been working on identifying and undertaking each of the elements that need to be adjusted and addressed so that the plan continues to progress,” the Minister of Tourism, David Collado, said in a statement. “Likewise, we are also working on strengthening our tourism offerings to ensure as a destination we are prepared for success in both the short and long term."
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Find her on Instagram.