When Gary Moll disembarked from a recent cruise in Santo Domingo, he encountered a fishy fee he’d never seen: Uniformed agents offered a $10 “Tourist Card” to passengers coming ashore. Are these cards for real?
Moll doubts it. Here’s what happened when he left the ship, in his own words:
After going through passport control and immigration, we encountered a desk where several uniformed individuals were selling Tourist Cards. If you were leaving the cruise terminal and going to the airport, you did not need one. If you elected to stay for a night or more in DR, you would need to purchase a Tourist Card for $10 per person.
Once you got your card — and there was no identifying information entered on it — you walked about 20 feet to the baggage claim area. As you entered the claim area there was another uniformed person collecting the Tourist Cards.
No receipt for the purchase. No further requirement for the card. You were allowed to hold it for 20 feet before surrendering it.
Moll thinks these cards are “worthless.”
Are they? I asked my friends in the island’s tourism office. Vanessa Welter, a spokeswoman for the Dominican Republic, told me they are not.
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