Article published on March 26 via Arecoa

The Dominican Association of Receptive Tourism Operators (Opetur), the Dominican Association of Tour Operators (Adotur) and the Dominican Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (Adavit), signed a statement addressed to the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, in the which send suggestions for a series of measures that can mitigate the negative effects of Covid-19 on SMEs and MSMEs in the Dominican tourism sector.

Elizabeth Tovar, President Opetur; Jacinto Fernández, president of Adotur and Winston Cruz, president of Adavit, indicate among the suggestions to the president: the prepayment of the ITBIS, in the sense that most of the services are billed before receiving the services.

“This generates a financial problem of great magnitude since the intermediary must reimburse what has already been paid creating an expense that causes considerable losses. By not being able to do so, we create dissatisfaction with the company and with the Dominican Republic destination ”, they indicate.

In addition, “The payment to the BSP, this reaches 80% of the time an advance payment to future services, so the same thing happens with taxes. This segment is the operating engine and really, by having early withholdings, the return by the intermediary to the client would become a great loss. Not returning them would put us in a situation of lack of credibility with the client. ”

Another of the mentioned points: the payment of taxes for air tickets, for which they suggest: decrease the payment of ITBIS to air tickets permanently.

“High taxes have been one of the reasons that have most affected the departure of the regional offices that had been established in the Dominican Republic.”

“Expenses exceed other destinations. We need to be competitive in order to attract groups and tourists as soon as possible. ”

They point out that the Airport Tax is one of the DR’s biggest “problems”, since they consider it high and therefore affects the costs of people who want to travel to the country, considerably increasing the cost of air tickets, which are one of the most expensive of the region per nautical mile.

In this sense, they request the deferment of the payment corresponding to the aforementioned tax, according to a document referring to this digital.

They also request to minimize the conditions for the temporary suspension of employment contracts without penalty, authorization to reduce the salaries of employees, avoiding mass layoffs until the situation is controlled.

Likewise, the authorization of the granting of forced vacations for employees without pay during the crisis.

They also request as a compensatory measure, the immediate suspension of the ITBIS payment to allocate the funds to sustain the workload. They urgently require the development and socialization of a protocol, to act in case of having an employee or client with Coronavirus , to receive field training for them.

“The invitation for these trainings should be for anyone who is operating in tourism since those who operate without a license such as Airbnb and small hotels are still not covered,” they indicate.

The entities urge that in combination with the Ministry of Public Health and the Dominican Association of Infectious Diseases, training on health protocols related to COVID-19 be urgently carried out, since to date only employees of the hotel chains.

For Proconsumidor, Ministry of Tourism (Mitur) and Asonahores, they request to make a special regulation contemplating that in case of cancellation of groups or individuals, the hotels return all the money paid and in the case of reduction of rooms for groups, the contractual penalties for being force majeure.

In conclusion, they highlight that “It will be necessary in our view to call the presidents of the associations to be part of these proposals. They are all extremely urgent due to the situation of economic fragility that this industry has. ”