Some went to the beach, some went to sunbathe, others chose it because, at the time, the Covid numbers seemed plausible. Many people have chosen it over resort destinations because getting there seems easy. Still others like the idea of not having to take an exam to enter the country.
Together, they make up about 25 of the mostly American, Canadian and British guests enjoying the adults-only pool “Preferred Club” at Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana on a recent weekend, even as the Omicron variant pushed the number of coronavirus infections to a record high in the Dominican Republic.
They, along with all the other visitors, who filled most of Punta Cana’s roughly 42,000 hotel rooms at the end of January of that year, were part of what many consider a pandemic success story. Rare travel. In December, the Dominican Republic attracted 700,000 visitors from abroad, more than it attracted not just before the pandemic but in any given month, according to the Department of Tourism. That has pushed total arrivals through 2021 to nearly 5 million, more than any other country in the Caribbean. In December, some financial analysts have calculated that the country is having its best economic year in 30 years.
And Punta Cana isn’t the only getaway booming in the Dominican Republic. Las Terrenas, a small seaside town that tends to attract a crowd that looks down on everyone, has exploded during the pandemic.
The Dominican Republic’s visitor figures, in part, have to do with its unique strategy to gain a competitive advantage. Unlike most Caribbean beach destinations, the country does not require proof of vaccinations, Covid testing or quarantine for most incoming tourists. Instead, authorities have chosen to manage Covid by stepping up vaccinations and wearing masks for those who come into contact with tourists. According to the Ministry of Tourism, nearly 100% of the 174,000 people working in the tourism sector have been vaccinated. And while all-inclusive resorts only require reservations for entry, many banks, government organizations and some shopping malls require proof of vaccinations or recent PCR testing.
Hogla Enecia Pérez contributed research from Santo Domingo.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/world/americas/easy-covid-entry-rules-help-make-the-dominican-republic-a-rare-pandemic-success-story.html Easy Covid entry rules help promote travel to the Dominican Republic.