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NEW YORK — The Dominican Republic is a safe destination with improved security, its tourism minister said Thursday as part of a campaign to clear the image for the Caribbean nation.
Speaking at an event in New York, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia denounced what he called the “bombardment” of news about “mysterious deaths” in the Dominican Republic. He said that in fact, none of the deaths were related and all the tourists died of natural causes.
“We want the truth to come out,” Garcia said during the session co-ordinated 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.”
He said a National Committee of Tourism Security has been established and it includes 16 government agencies along with private entities like the Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic. He also said reinforced rules now require that emergency information and the availability of the 911 number be clearly posted in every guest room.
The minister has said in the past that the deaths of the nine Americans were not part of an unclear wave of fatalities but a medically and statistically normal phenomenon that was lumped together by U.S. media over the summer.
Autopsies showed the tourists died of natural causes, but two of the cases are receiving further toxicological analysis with help from the FBI, said Garcia.