Continuation of tourism urged for Haiti recovery

Continuation of tourism urged for Haiti recovery

Royal Caribbean, which has pledged at least $1 million in support of victims of the Haiti earthquake, has defended its decision to continue to dock cruise ships on its private Labadee resort on the country’s northern coast, saying tourism revenues is a means to support the recovery.

In a blog post Adam Goldstein, the company’s president and chief executive, referred to a Sunday story in The Guardian, which said RCI continuation of cruises to Labadee had divided passengers.

But Goldstein said that by supporting the economy, “People enjoying themselves in Labadee helps with relief.”

The 4,370-berth Independence of the Seas, owned by the company, runs scheduled cruises to Labadee, as does Navigator of the Seas. Each ship carries palets of emergency relief supplies.

Meanwhile the Dominican Republic tourism authorities are urging tourists not to cancel their holidays. It says tourist dollars are more vital than ever.

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The two countries occupy one island, with the Dominican Republic making up a larger eastern portion that remained relatively untouched by the quake and Haiti the remaining western part.

The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism assures visitors that all of its cities, tourism and resort areas are conducting normal business operations. It also says that its government, consulates and embassies are working diligently with the international community on Haiti earthquake relief. Millions of Dominicans have donated time, money, supplies and expertise to help Haiti.

All of the tourist areas, hotels, resorts, airports and seaports are open and receiving visitors. The DR experienced no damage from the quake or its aftershocks. Major tourism regions Punta Cana and La Romana on the East Coast, as well as Samana and Puerto Plata along the North Coast are welcoming winter season tourists from all over the world.

The southern region of the DR has been a stable staging area for the Haiti relief effort and a reliable alternative route into Haiti. Three key airports and a roadway in the DR’s southern region are being used to receive international relief supplies through mostly rural areas of the DR not frequented by visitors.

The DR government has stationed military, police and immigration officials along the DR border reinforcing relief efforts to help Haiti. The DR has strong border control permitting only crossings for humanitarian reasons, while also sending critical supplies, equipment, medical experts and millions of dollars for food and relief kitchens directly to Port-au-Prince.