The Dominican Republic has scrapped the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for tourists arriving in the country and instead is offering them a medical insurance cover for free.
The country will not even conduct a mass test at the airport, but officials at the terminal can conduct temperature checks randomly, according to the country’s tourism ministry.
The free insurance plan covers COVID-19 testing and supports tourists financially if they become ill or need to quarantine.
The move not only minimizes the effects of the pandemic but also kick-starts the country’s economy heavily dependent on tourism revenue.
The government has also sealed agreements with airlines, in addition to setting aside more than US$35 million to help the industry recover from the pandemic.
Owners of resorts, hotels, and travel agencies, can seek financial aid under the program called Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan.
The Caribbean island welcomes more than 6 million tourists annually, and tourists are a vital source of revenue for businesses in coastal areas of the country.
The sector accounts for more than 11% of the country’s GDP, with major attractions including its tropical climate, white sandy beaches, diverse mountainous landscapes, and its colonial history.
“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,” said David Collado, the Minister of Tourism, in a statement.
“Likewise, we are also working on strengthening our tourism offerings to ensure that as a destination we are prepared for success in both the short and long term.”