The Dominican Republic is dropping its mandatory COVID-19 testing requirement for travelers and is now providing them with free insurance as part of its new Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan.

From September 15, visitors to the Dominican Republic do not need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival; a requirement that has been in place since the Caribbean country opened its borders to tourists in July. The government is also dropping its mass testing program at the airport and will instead perform random, quick tests on randomly-selected passengers.

In addition, the Dominican Republic has taken out a travel assistance policy that will cover visitors for incidents related to COVID-19; similar to policies introduced by Spain's Canary Islands and Virgin Atlantic. The free and temporary health insurance policy will insure that tourists will have some expenses paid should they contract the virus during their vacation, including COVID-19 test costs and accommodation costs for long-term stays. The plan is open to all visitors, including those arriving from the United States, provided they are staying at regulated tourist accommodation. It will be in place from September 15 until December 31, 2020, though it can be extended for those arriving late.

Here are the new rules for visiting the Caribbean

Speaking to Lonely Planet, a spokesperson for the Dominican Republic tourist board said: "the plan goes until December 31 but if a hotel guest arrives on December 31 and stays at the hotel, for example for two weeks, it will be covered by the insurance." 

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
The capital of Santo Domingo ©Holger Mette/Getty Images

The new Tourism Recovery Plan comes as the Dominican Republic works to revive a devastated tourist industry, having opened its borders in July and implementing new health and safety protocols. The new plan will set out guidelines to develop the industry in a more sustainable way, and will evolve over the next few months. "We have been working on identifying and undertaking each of the elements that need to be adjusted and addressed so that the plan continues to progress,” said Minister of Tourism David Collado. "Likewise, we are also working on strengthening our tourism offerings to ensure as a destination we are prepared for success in the both the short and long term."

Two men snorkeling off tropical beach, Dominican Republic
The government has implemented new health and safety protocols across the country's resorts and businesses ©Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Masks are required in public and social distancing guidelines are in place across hotels, restaurants and bars. As hotels begin to resume operations, a full list of those that are open for business can be accessed here.

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