NY Post- The head of tourism in the Dominican Republic took aim at the media for the “bombardment” of coverage of the disturbing spate of American deaths there this year.
Speaking at an event in New York Thursday, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier García defended the DR as a safe destination, saying the tourist fatalities this year were not related and that all died of natural causes.
“We want the truth to come out,” García said at the session coordinated by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic. “We have worked very hard to stop this and there has been a process of clarifying all the information that was needed. But damage has been done.”
At least 10 people have died in the DR since March — tanking tourism to the Caribbean nation and prompting concerns over whether bootleg liquor was to blame.
Dominican health officials previously ripped coverage of the death trend as “fake news” intended to derail the country’s tourism industry.
In July, García announced new safety measures for visitors, including a multilingual emergency center and requirements that hotels provide inspectors with details on their food-handling protocols and information on all of their food and beverage suppliers.
He reiterated these new standards on Thursday and said other measures — including access to emergency information and making sure 911 availability is posted in all guest rooms and reviewed at check-in — had also been put in place, according to USA Today.
A National Committee of Tourism Security will also be established to detect and prevent threats, García said.
“We want to continue to increase security for tourists in the Dominican Republic,” García said at the briefing. “We have to take care of them.”