Where is the Dominican Republic located on the continental shelf

Corona in Dominican Republic: locals desperate! "Income missing"

"Before der Corona-Pandemic, the tourists came here in droves, ”says Maradonna. He lives with his family on a country road that becomes one of the most popular beaches in the Dominican Republic leads.

Actually, every day, masses of holidaymakers flock to Playa Rincón in the northeast Dominican Republic - but since corona only a few tourists find their way there. Although the country has opened up to travelers, the residents are still suffering severely from the slump in tourism.

Corona in the Dominican Republic causes tourism to collapse

Maradonna is one of them. The Dominican runs the "Casa de las Frutas" (in German "The House of Fruits"). The facility lives up to its name. From a few sturdy branches, Mardonna has assembled an elongated stand on which mangoes, peppers and papaya are lined up. In front of it are boxes full of avocados, bananas dangling from the ceiling.

Inside the shop, Maradonna sells souvenirs and coffee. Regardless of whether it is groceries or holiday souvenirs - his customers are almost exclusively travelers. He shrugs. “We depend on tourism,” he sighs.

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That left his family in dire straits. "For a year now we have been missing almost any income," reports the local. Although holidaymakers have been allowed to travel to the Dominican Republic again since July, many restrictions in the country still exist.

Corona in the Dominican Republic: Customers stay away

The fruit seller leans back in his plastic chair and looks down. “We were only allowed to reopen our shop a good two months ago,” regrets Maradonna. The customers still stay away. Just like his family, thousands of Dominicans feel the same way. Business with travelers is the island nation's most important source of income.

"The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region on earth," says Professor Bert Hoffmann, head of the Berlin office of the Giga Institute for Regional Development, in an interview with "Focus on Latin America".

A year ago, the expert described the situation as "absolutely dramatic". At the time, he suspected that around a third of people were left without an income. In the meantime, however, it has improved the situation - at least in part.

Despite Corona, tourists are returning to the Dominican Republic

In the meantime, significantly more holidaymakers are coming to the Dominican Republic. In March, the load factor of the aircraft arriving in the country reached the pre-pandemic level for the first time. The most popular travel destination of all Punta Cana, where large hotels and resorts dot the coast.

No wonder, because the resorts receive the most support from the government. The hygiene requirements are particularly strict, the employees are currently all vaccinated and until recently hotel guests were even granted free corona health insurance.

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The Samaná peninsula, where Maradonna lives, is also popular with tourists. Playa Rincón in particular is on the agenda of many holidaymakers. Five kilometers of sandy beach, dense palm forests and the view of the mountains in the background make the bay one of the most frequently visited places in the country.

And not only that: The travel magazine “Condé Nast Traveler” counts Playa Rincón among the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. In addition to the untouched nature, its secluded location is what makes the bay so special.

Before Corona, a profitable business in the Dominican Republic

A single country road, which turns into an unpaved gravel road for the last few kilometers, leads to Playa Rincón. The Maradonna store is located exactly on this route, which is actually very busy. A profitable business before Corona.

Although the beach is one of the most famous attractions in the Dominican Republic, there are hardly any hotels or restaurants in the area. A fact that amazes the locals.

He sees enormous potential for the region around Playa Rincón. “I think a second Monte Carlo will be built here in a few years,” he predicts. Before that happens, the fruit trader himself would like to invest and be one of the first to promote tourism there.

Corona in the Dominican Republic: "We don't have to go hungry"

“But I just don't have the money,” he admits. He reckons that foreign businessmen will build huge hotel buildings out of the ground instead, the next Punta Cana, so to speak.

But there are still hardly any overnight guests around Playa Rincón. The Dominican and his family hope that tourism will continue to pick up momentum and that soon more travelers will take the trip to the popular beach again.

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Suddenly the serious expression on Maradonna's face gives way to a broad grin. He stretches out his arms to the sides and looks at his fruit and vegetable offer. No matter what: "We never have to go hungry," he emphasizes.