Traveling Safely in the Dominican Republic in Spite of Recent Bad News

You may have heard that the Dominican Republic is being characterized by some as an unsafe place to travel these days, largely due to news reports regarding unexplained illnesses, as well as the high-profile shooting of baseball legend David Ortiz. These stories have taken a toll on travel to the Caribbean island, with recent reports that tourism has dropped 74 percent this summer alone.

As a travel company that specializes in tours to this beautiful island nation, we wanted to take a deeper look into these fears and see how valid they are. Too often, media reports sensationalize situations in other countries to the detriment of those who live there. It’s important to take a look at the facts before painting an entire country with such a broad brush.

Unexplained Deaths in the Dominican Republic

The most widely-publicized and jarring news of late has been the unexplained deaths of American tourists traveling in the Dominican Republic. According to news reports, at least 10 American citizens have passed away since January 2018 due to a sudden illness that causes heart or respiratory failure. Many outlets are reporting that the cause is probably linked to fake or tainted alcohol found in hotel minibars.

The FBI and other U.S. entities are working with the government and investigative groups in the Dominican Republic to determine if these incidents are linked in any way. The resorts and hotels used by Worldwide Golf Adventures have not been involved in these incidents and have assured us that the quality of their food and beverages remains at an extremely high level.

It’s Still Safe to Travel in the Dominican Republic

According to officials in the Dominican Republic, these deaths are not necessarily a sign that it is unsafe to travel in the country. In fact, millions of people enjoy a stay in the Dominican Republic without incident every year, and the recent spate of bad news accounts for a very small percentage of visitors. The reports of illness and injury are relatively rare, all things considered.
The Dominican Republic is not under a general travel warning from the U.S. State Department, although it is under a Level 2 advisory due to general crime. However, recent incidents do not indicate that the country is less safe to travel to than it was before, according to the State Department.

Most resorts are privately owned and operated and are insulated from crime in the surrounding areas. In fact, most tourists are even safer than residents due to private security, gated communities, and other measures intended to keep tourists safe. The country owes 17 percent of its economy to tourism, and business owners are committed to ensuring tourists enjoy themselves during their visits.

How to Travel Safely in the Dominican Republic

The bottom line is that the Dominican Republic is as safe to travel to as many other tourist destinations frequented by American travelers. The government is working to increase security across the island, and resorts are stepping up to the task as well by training their teams to respond appropriately. Many resorts are taking steps to prevent the possibility of illness by removing alcohol from their minibars until the mystery of the recent unexplained illnesses is solved.

As always, we recommend that tourists and guests exercise caution when traveling internationally, no matter where they go, including the following tips:

At Worldwide Golf Adventures, we book accommodations in the Dominican Republic exclusively with resorts that are known for their safety records. None of our partner resorts or golf courses have been included in the recent news of illnesses or deaths, and there have not been reports of increased violence or crime at any of them, either.

To look at this situation another way, this might be the perfect time to book a trip to the Dominican Republic, as rates may be lower and the beaches may be less crowded. If you’re ready to play golf in this world-renowned Caribbean destination,  get in touch today for a free quote.