Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
MIAMI — Sometimes it’s not the crisis itself, but how the crisis is handled, that has the most impact.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is being proactive in its approach to keeping guests informed in the wake of the recent tourist deaths in the D.R., issuing a statement saying that the safety and health of guests is now, and has always been, the company’s highest priority.
As reported on Monday, Hard Rock Punta Cana is removing liquor dispensers from its guest room mini-bars. Two of the recent D.R. tourist deaths took place at Hard Rock Punta Cana. At least one of the deaths in the D.R. occurred after a guest had a drink from the mini-bar.
The statement issued by Hard Rock Punta Cana says the resort follows internationally recognized regulations regarding guest health, sanitation and security, with rigorous food and beverage protocols, including purchasing products from U.S. licensed and reputable vendors, as well as daily inspections of all products served throughout the hotel. Team members are trained to inspect all supplies, equipment and products that enter the property and the property employs more than 70 security personnel per shift.
On June 21 the D.R.’s Ministry of Public Health in the Dominican Republic released its findings about the deaths. A statement from Hard Rock Punta Cana says: “Although the official reports state these incidents are unrelated, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana has taken steps, based on guest feedback, to improve the experience and enhance safety moving forward”:
• “We are currently in the process of removing liquor dispensers from all guest rooms. Alcoholic beverages will continue to be available 24 hours a day as part of the all-inclusive experience. All of the alcohol on property will continue to be brand name and sourced from the U.S., with the exception of a Dominican Republic specialty, Mama Juana, and local beer, Presidente, that we carry to support our community.”
• “Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana has always provided onsite medical care, however, as an added measure, a U.S. based healthcare facility will be contracted to ensure the on-site health clinic is complying with all international and U.S. standards of care. Once we have finalized the healthcare facility details, we will share those with the public.”
• “The hotel has already been inspected by the Ministry of Public Health. We are also contracting a U.S. based 3rd party testing lab to provide inspections and laboratory testing of all food and beverage products and public spaces.”
• “We will continue to utilize Ecolab to source all cleaning supplies for kitchens and guest rooms, detergents for laundry, and fumigation supplies. Ecolab, a U.S. based company, is the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technology and services. The company complies with global regulations, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and/or CE (European Regulation).”
“More than six million tourists visit the Dominican Republic annually and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana hosts approximately a quarter million guests each year; and we will continue to welcome guests to enjoy our beautiful destination and resort, as we have for the past eight years.”
In related news, Delta Air Lines has announced it will now waive change fees for Punta Cana-bound passengers. The policy is so far in effect for travel through Aug. 15.