Puerto Rico riots continue as Dominican Republic announces new safety measures

Puerto Rico is experiencing some tourism-related issues as protestors continue to flood the streets demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Some cruise ships have begun diverting due to passenger safety concerns.

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“Due to the ongoing civil unrest in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we have cancelled Harmony of the Seas’ call to San Juan. Harmony will now sail to St. Maarten, her next scheduled port of call. Concern for the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew members is our top priority,” Owen Torres, manager of corporate communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises explained to FOX Business via email.

The next ship, with Celebrity Cruises is scheduled to arrive in Puerto Rico on Sunday. The company said it will be monitoring the situation to determine if it needs to continue rerouting ships.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the US territory’s government-owned corporation in charge of tourism, announced on its website that the economic impact of these two trips was estimated at nearly $657,154.

The two ships also had more than 8,000 passengers on board them. The Empress of the Seas had an estimated 1,718 passengers while the Harmony of the Seas had an estimated 6,546 passengers on board.

The company said taxis, airport services, hotels and other tourist attractions are operating normally and is not aware of other changing schedules. It is currently working with police, the Bureau of Transportation and Public Service and the Ports Authority to maintain the flow and safety of tourists.

"For its part, the destination marketing organization (DMO), Discover Puerto Rico, keeps in force its crisis management plan to reaffirm that Puerto Rico is a safe destination and our commitment to assure international visitors a world-class experience," the tourism company said in a press release Thursday.

The Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism announced Thursday that the country will be taking steps of its own to increase tourist safety amid a number of recently reported deaths of U.S. citizens.

The number of American deaths in the island of Hispaniola reached 11 after the State Department confirmed earlier this week that a Georgia man died of “respiratory illness” during his travel to the Caribbean.

Javier Garcia, the Dominican tourism minister, announced the country is setting up a multilingual emergency center to help tourists. The emergency tourist center will have specialists who can help connect tourists to the Dominican government or a visitor’s home government if an issue arises for travelers.


“We have always worked hard to create a safe environment and will continue to be vigilant with comprehensive programs and amplified standards that bolster the well-being of the six million tourists that visit the Dominican Republic each year,” he said in a statement released on Thursday.

The country is also taking immediate steps to increase the safety of food and drink consumption. This includes tightened inspection of food and drink handling as well as “comprehensive information on all food and beverage suppliers.”

The Dominican Republic's announcement also comes along a visit from former President Bill Clinton.

“Welcome, Bill Clinton, to the DR,” tweeted José Tomás Pérez, the Dominican ambassador to the U.S., on Wednesday. “Your presence is the best message to the American people and to the world about [the] safety and security of our tourism.”