American tourists are canceling their trips to Dominican Republic following deaths: report

By FeaturesFOXBusiness

Dominican Republic official downplays American tourist deaths

Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel tells FOX Business that the Dominican Republic tourism minister is trying to put a cover-up over the mysterious deaths in the Caribbean island.

American tourists are beginning to consider different travel destinations after a wave of fatalities in the Dominican Republic.

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ForwardKeys, which analyzes flight data, said that from June 1 to June 17, flight cancellations increased by 45 percent, according to The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, flight bookings to the island from the U.S. in July and August decreased by 59 percent, compared to a year ago, according to ForwardKeys, which analyzes about 17 million flight bookings a day.

“The recent deaths of U.S. tourists in the Dominican Republic appear to have had a dramatic impact on travel to the destination,” Olivier Ponti, the VP of Insights for ForwardKeys, told FOXBusiness in a statement.

"From the beginning of January to the end of May, flight bookings to the Dominican Republic in July and August from the USA were 2% up on the same period the previous year," Ponti said. "However, bookings for July and August made between the 1st and 17th June were 59% down. During the same period, 1st – 17th June, cancellations jumped 45%. On June 10th, when the next death was reported, the cancellation rate jumped to over 60%. Since the latest death on June 13th, we see a further erosion of bookings and no sign of recovery.”

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The American Society of Travel Advisors told CNBC that about 60 percent of travel advisors recently canceled trips for American clients planning to go to the Dominican Republic.

Kayak, a travel search site, told The Washington Post that flight searches from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic have dropped by 19 percent since the beginning of the month, compared to last year.

Some airlines responded to growing concerns from customers about travel to the Caribbean island after at least 11 American tourists died in the past year.

The Dominican Republic also made headlines after former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz was shot in the back at a bar in the country's capital in June by a gunman who mistook him for the intended target, Dominican officials said Wednesday.

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The Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, Francisco Javier Garcia, said the deaths were not part of a mysterious wave of fatalities.

"We want the truth to prevail," García said. "There is nothing to hide here."

An estimated 3.2 million Americans visited the Dominican Republic in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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