The president of the Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic (Asonahores), Rafael Blanco Tejera, revealed that this sector is redoubling its efforts, together with the government, in Canada, Latin America and the rest of Europe, to supply the demand in the country that was planned for Russians and Ukrainians, who would represent around 10 percent of tourists this year, equivalent to about 50,000 visitors a month.
“It is an important market. What we are doing is jointly with the public-private marketing committee led by the Minister of Tourism, (determining) how we meet that demand that is going to drop with other markets”, he said.
“Fifty thousand tourists a month were arriving from Russia and Ukraine, which is a lot”, he analyzed.
He recalled that as a result of the war between the two nations they determined the stay in hotels of the country of some 15 thousand Russians and some 3 thousand Ukrainian tourists and that after identifying their location, Asonahores guaranteed their stay in the hotels.
He revealed that in the first week of March, Asonahores made the decision to extend the stay of these people in their hotels for 15 days, and that they had yet to determine what their medium-term solution would be, in a second meeting of the Tourism Cabinet.
He indicated that in the case of the Russians, the tour operators have been transferring them to that country on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, regarding the Ukrainians, as the airspace is closed, in the first place they determined the individual needs of these tourists and as some have relatives in other European countries and other parts of the world such as the United States, they are proceeding to manage their transfer to those nations.
He specified that there is another group of Ukrainians who, although they do not have relatives where to move to stay, have sufficient financial resources to pay for their stay in the country.
Meanwhile, he revealed that there are other Ukrainians who do not have sufficient economic resources to guarantee their livelihood, so the Dominican Republic, as a country, will have to find a solution for them until the situation in Ukraine is resolved.
“Those tourists who do not have the resources to fend for themselves, we are going to have to find a shelter for them. What will be the time? We do not know. Also remember that this is an international situation, at the end of the day these people went from being tourists and clients of ours to war refugees.”
In this regard, he said that Asonahores recommended that the State dialogue with the United Nations and international organizations to determine the international policy for refugees of Ukrainian nationality.
Government guarantees accommodation
The government guaranteed accommodation, food and health to Ukrainians who are in the country as tourists. The Tourism Cabinet established concrete actions, in the short term, to manage the situation of Ukrainians who were doing tourism in the Dominican Republic at the time of the start of the armed conflict in Ukraine.
Through a press release it was reported that as of March 3rd, the number of Ukrainians who remain in the country amounts to 1,744. Of these, 1,342 are housed in hotels, and 402 in other places.
According to a statement, hotels in Puerto Plata will apply a solidarity rate for 15 days to Ukrainians who are in the country from January 1st to March 2022.
This rate would cover food and lodging expenses and will be covered by the Dominican Government, through the Ministry of Tourism.
On the other hand, the National Association of Hotels and Restaurants (Asonahores) will work together with the hotels that must give out to the Ukrainians who fulfilled their reservation on February 28 to coordinate the transfer processes to Puerto Plata. These transfers will take place between March 4 and 6.
“After 15 days, visitors who have not been able to leave the Dominican Republic will be transferred to the Olympic Village and other shelters, where they will have lodging and food through the Economic Dining Rooms,” the document indicates.