Punta Cana is one of the many Caribbean resort hotspots that is confronting record levels of sargassum seaweed.
The national government has announced an ambitious strategy it hopes will help keep seaweed levels under control this year and in those to come.
Despite the concerning news, travelers are flocking to the sun-soaked destination in droves this summer.
In the meantime, resorts and local businesses are contributing to the fight against sargassum.
With that in mind, here’s what Punta Cana is doing to stop sargassum this summer:
Dominican Government Reveals New Sargassum Strategy
In the past, Punta Cana resorts could rely on a professional team of cleaners to keep sargassum at bay. This year, however, as sargassum levels rise to unprecedented highs, more aggressive measures are needed, experts say.
To that end, the Dominican government is working on a new strategy to clean up massive amounts of sargassum from popular beaches.
With an investment of up to $12 million, Dominican officials are working with different stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the issue.
While those numbers are impressive, removing sargassum entirely is easier said than done. All the more so with climate change causing a boom in the amount of sargassum seaweed being created in the Atlantic Ocean.
In the short term, the government has procured more heavy-duty machinery to keep Punta Cana’s main beaches in good shape.
Eastern resort destinations in the province of La Altragracia have been among the most affected by record sargassum levels, and the issue is only forecast to worsen as summer approaches.
Officials have also purchased new trucks, which will store sargassum before it is ultimately destroyed.
Over the coming months, the country’s tourism ministry will gradually deploy more machinery to help combat huge quantities of sargassum, authorities say.
“Sargassum is a reality, and we are confronting the issue proactively. This week alone we’ve handed in 10 trucks as well as several eco-friendly tractors,” David Collado, the country’s tourism minister, said in a statement.
In addition to new machinery, resorts across the city have hired more cleaners, who work long shifts each night to prepare Punta Cana’s white-sand beaches for guests.
Travelers can enjoy relatively clean beaches in Bávaro, Macao, and Cap Cana, as those areas are home to most large resorts and thus have greater means to deal with sargassum.
In the long term, though, sargassum will require a far more comprehensive solution. That’s why the Dominican Republic is investing in new technologies that can convert sargassum into fertilizer and other byproducts.
The country’s tourism ministry has partnered up with international stakeholders, such as the Association of Caribbean States (AEC), to devise common solutions to a global issue.
Despite the city’s beaching dealing with massive sargassum arrivals, travelers can still enjoy some spectacular activities that provide relief from the stinky seaweed.
Punta Cana is not only famous for its beaches but also its azure cenotes, top-rated waterparks & spas, as well stunning jungle treks, all of which are excellent alternatives for when beaches are covered in sargassum.
Officials have noted that for now, sargassum hasn’t stopped millions of travelers from enjoying their tropical getaway. The Dominican Republic welcomed nearly 4 million international tourists in the first quarter of the year, and the country is projecting a record-shattering 10 million travelers to visit the country by the end of the year.
If you’re one of the millions of travelers visiting Punta Cana this summer, it’s a good idea to plan alternative activities in case you encounter excessive sargassum levels.
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