Is The Dominican Republic Still “Safe” To Visit?

At least seven tourists have died in the Dominican Republic since June 2018, a frightening number that’s bruising the country’s reputation as a travel destination. PR for the Caribbean getaway took another hit this week when future MLB hall-of-fame player David Ortiz was shot at a Santo Domingo nightclub. Despite the litany of bad press, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia said the Dominican Republic remains safe for travel.

“All visitors are very important to us,” Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier García said in a statement. “The Ministry’s most important responsibilities are to ensure that the highest industry standards are met so that all tourists are safe when visiting. At the same time, it must also work to provide a definitive answer to the afflicted families.

“These cases are very regrettable, but isolated,” he continued. “Investigation into them is a top priority for us and for the National Police. We are asking them to deploy all resources to help provide answers as quickly as possible.”
According to the US Department of State website, forty-eight Americans died in the DR between 2016 and 2018. That number includes deaths from drownings, homicides, suicides, vehicle and other accidents. But the mysterious circumstances surrounding the more recent deaths could be giving visitors pause.
Nathaniel Holmes, 63, Cynthia Day, 49 were found dead inside their hotel room at the Bahia Principe La Romana on May 30. Just one week prior, Miranda Schaup-Werner suffered from a heart attack, pulmonary edema, and respiratory failure at the same resort. Miranda took a drink from the mini bar, fell ill, collapsed and died. Yvette Monique Sport had a drink from the mini bar in her room at the same hotel in June 2018 before she died.
Robert Wallace, 67, also had a Scotch from the minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana before dying on April 12.
About 2.2 million American tourists visited the Dominican Republic last year, more than any other country in the region. And over 30 million people from all over have visited the destination in the past five years. So while the deaths of these individuals should give room for pause, numbers say that most travelers should have nothing to worry about.
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Eric has revolved in and out of passport controls for over 20 years. From his first archaeological field school in Belize to rural villages in Ethiopia and Buddhist temples in Laos, Eric has come smile to smile with all walks of life. A writer, photographer and entrepreneur, the LA native believes the power of connectivity and community is enriched through travel.

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