Interview: The Dominican Republic on the corona crisis

Ms. Galina Lyssenko, the head of the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic in Russia, Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus

Question 1

In what format do you and your colleagues continue to work?

We view the current predicament as a temporary break. The country is using it to prepare as much as possible for the return of guests — some hotels have moved renovation dates to the quarantine period, so that as soon as the destination is reopened, they’ll be ready and updated for tourists.

We are now focusing on “virtual” travel — social networks are limitless and open. Today social communities are more responsive than ever, them being the only source of inspiration and “a window into the world”. Online subscriber engagement is much higher, they respond more thoughtfully to videos and information about the country, because this is the only possible substitute for travel. Hotels popular among Russians are also connecting to this work format.

Question 2

It’s important now not to cut off communication with partners and clients. How do you continue promoting your destination in a situation where borders are closed? Could you share a few tips.

We continue to entertain our subscribers on social media, using this break to tell them as much as possible interesting information about the country. We launched the #yomequedoencasa campaign (“stay at home”) as an opportunity for virtual travel in the Dominican Republic — an introduction without leaving your house, so to speak.

We publish video tutorials on how to dance merengue and bachata, cook Dominican dishes and make the national Limé doll, recommend Dominican movies, and introduce to national music and literature.

We also do not forget the tour operators who proved to be true professionals during the state of emergency and evacuation. The Ministry of Tourism continues working on joint activities with them in order to resume a comfortable flight program at the right time and fully meet Russian tourists in the resorts of the Dominican Republic.

Question 3

Forecasts are now made very carefully, but still... According to your assessment, when do you expect tourist flow recovery, including from Russia?

Full recovery depends on the stability of the situation in the world, and that is difficult to predict. At the same time, we assume that the Dominican Republic will open before Europe, and we can expect an influx of autumn tourists. The country’s tourism potential is very rich, it will not allow it to lose relevance. During forced isolation people long for travel, so we hope for a more than active autumn-winter season.