Last night I attended a tourism briefing coordinated by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic and led by the Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia to discuss safety and security in Dominican Republic and the country’s continued commitment to tourism safety. Following that, there was a panel discussion to address the integration of safety initiatives and collaboration with the private sector. The panelists included the Carlos Castillo (Consul General of the Dominican Republic in New York), Robin Bernstein (US Ambassador to the Dominican Republic), Rafael Banco (National Association of Hotels and Restaurants), Alex Zozaya (CEO, Apple Leisure Group), and Bruce Wardinski (CEO, Playa Hotels and Resorts).
Minister Garcia highlighted measures taken to address safety and security in the Dominican Republic’s tourism sector. This includes various measures to assure the safety and well-being of tourists and strengthening the confidence of the traveling public, such as heightened inspection and compliance standards, heightened security, measures that specifically address quality control of food and beverage preparation and handling as well as establishment of an emergency tourist center.
A good portion of the opening speeches concerned the speakers’ conclusions that the incidents and deaths that occurred in the Dominican Republic were isolated and unrelated and that the news coverage on this was sensationalized and not fact-based to the point of causing unwarranted hysteria and damage to the country’s tourism industry. The speakers emphasized that the Dominican Republic is a safe country, that it the country is listed as only a risk level 2 by the State Department, and that it has worked hard to become both a popular and a trusted tourism leader in the Caribbean. The message to journalists and reporters was to report fairly and not resort to sensationalism. The message to tourists was to be confident that the Dominican Republic is safe and secure and ready to receive guests to come enjoy all it has to offer.
As mentioned above, one of the panelists was Bruce Wardinski, the CEO of Playa Hotels and Resorts. Playa is an owner, operator and developer of all-inclusive resorts Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Playa’s Dominican Republic all-inclusive resorts include Hilton La Romana and two World of Hyatt properties – Zilara Cap Cana and Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana – which will open November 1, 2019.
Wardinski says the Hyatt Zilara and Ziva in Cap Cana will be the absolute best resort in the entire Caribbean!
Wardinski, speaking on the topic of getting the message out to Hilton and Hyatt members that the Playa Dominican Republic properties are safe and secure and all-around wonderful vacation resorts:
Did I mention that the press conference was held at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, and that all attendees were invited to continue their conversations over drinks and appetizers at the hotel bar?