As it tries to reassure tourists and groups in the wake of recent tourist deaths and reports of illness at several all-inclusive resorts, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism released a statement addressing concerns and detailing investigations into the incidents on Wednesday. Following are excerpts from the release:
The Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic expressed today its sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those affected in the tragic events that have been reported over the last few weeks in the country, adding that it is working closely with the appropriate authorities to solve these cases as quickly as possible.
“All visitors are very important to us,” Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia said. “The Ministry’s most important responsibilities are to ensure that the highest industry standards are met so that all tourists are safe when visiting. At the same time, it must also work to provide a definitive answer to the afflicted families."
The United States Embassy in Santo Domingo stated today that it is “actively working in collaboration with Dominican authorities and the private sector to ensure that all U.S. citizens are and feel safe while in the country.” The Embassy also confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a deeper toxicology analysis and “results might take up to 30 days,” asking for patience during this process.
The National Police Department, in collaboration with the Ministry, National Hotel and Restaurant Association and the FBI, is following the due process and working diligently to complete the investigations and to keep the public informed as new findings arise.
The Ministry is also working with the National Hotel and Restaurant Association to reinforce safety conditions and quality control in food, beverages and any other element that has a positive impact on the satisfaction of those who visit our country as tourists.
While what happened is tragic and regrettable, García said it is important for everyone who wishes to disseminate information about the situation to do it in context and with perspective. It is advisable to wait for the official reports before speculating on the causes of death.
“We are confident that we can provide a definitive answer as soon as possible,” said García. “You can also be sure that the necessary measures will be taken to make the country even safer for all visitors.”
For more on the issue, read Travel Weekly's article on the FBI’s investigation into these incidents.