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The Problem with Trust – A Reflection on the Dominican Republic

It’s been a bad few months for the Dominican Republic (DR). With more than 6 million tourist visits annually, this island country is the largest Caribbean destination for tourists. 11.6% of the DR’s GDP is derived from tourism, so any reduction or disruption in this industry could have substantial and devastating effects for the country.

A series of recent events that could cause significant disruption to the DR’s tourism industry have been widely reported. Here’s one such report:


The gist is this:

“At least 10 American citizens have died after an apparent sudden health issue in the Dominican Republic since June 2018, according to information from the State Department, family members and the resorts involved”.

The truth is, we don’t know what, if anything is going on here. Could this just be plain old bad luck? A statistical fluke or even just undue attention to a “normal” rate of tourist deaths? Afterall, with 6 million people coming to the island each year some are, unfortunately, sure to get sick or die.

But the growing narrative seems to be a fear that the minibars at several DR resorts could have poison in them; that the bottles of rum, vodka and the like are fake or filled with fake/adulterated substances. Much of the reporting seems to indicate that this is the case.

But I just don’t know. I don’t know if the minibars are to blame. Or if this is just a normal thing that the media is over-reporting on. Or that this is just bad luck. Or, for that matter, if there’s another cause entirely.

And here we come to trust. Whether it is the fault of the resorts or not, many potential foreign tourists have lost some or all trust in the safety of visiting the DR. Tourists either should or should not trust these hotels. I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that in either case the resorts and tourism industry in the DR needs to take affirmative steps to regain this lost trust. There’s too much at stake.

SGNT can help here. Our tech could, and one day soon will, allow tourists to know for sure that their minibars are safe. To put it bluntly, with our tech no tourist would need to trust the resorts, or the DR government. They could tap the G and see if, or if not, these are genuine and untampered bottles, and know whether or not it’s safe to drink from those minibars.

This is what we offer. A solution to the problem of trust.

Emil T.
June 28, 2019
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