Travel insights from Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass

What the Industry is Saying About the Dominican Republic

We’ve all read the headlines, but what do the numbers, facts and industry experts have to say about the recent news in the Dominican Republic?

With the FBI releasing their toxicology reports and finding that the deaths of U.S. tourists in the Dominican Republic were of natural causes, this most definitely helps reinstate travelers’ confidence in the destination. It also keeps the destination in the news.

A recent article from TravelPulse says that the Dominican Republic is still a safe destination and despite negative news coverage, visitors are continuing to consider the travel spot for their next vacation. TravelPulse cited a survey conducted by Apple Leisure Group (ALG) in conjunction with travAlliancemedia that found that while 12.5 percent of those surveyed had no interest in visiting the Dominican Republic, 43.9 percent of people said that they had no concerns visiting the destination. The remaining 43.5 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were interested in exploring other destinations.

TravelPulse also cited a similar survey that found that a majority of travelers without concerns felt confident traveling to the Dominican Republic because they either don’t trust media reports or had traveled to the Dominican Republic in the past and had no fear of returning.

The article also states that of the nearly 250 travelers who said they’ve been to the Dominican Republic, nearly two-thirds rated their experience a four or five out of five while almost one in five rated their experience a three out of five. And fewer than 15 percent of surveyed travelers indicated that their experience was unsatisfactory, according to the article.

In an early October interview, Apple Vacations’ President, John Tarkowski told TravelPulse that Caribbean specialists can help combat sensationalized media reports by reassuring clients that the Dominican Republic is a service-orientated destination with high scores on vacation satisfaction surveys. Tarkowski went on to say that Apple Vacations is launching several initiatives in the Dominican Republic to create traveler demand.

Travel Weekly released a press release earlier this summer reporting a panel discussion with Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism Javier Garcia. The panel lasted over an hour and Garcia addressed concerns regarding the case of a woman who claimed to have been beaten at her Punta Cana resort in January and the deaths of three travelers in La Romana. While the FBI’s toxicology reports revealed that the travelers’ deaths supported natural causes, Garcia did reveal that the country is implementing several security steps to keep travelers safe including opening an emergency tourist center, increasing hotel inspections and requiring hotel staff to review 911 and other emergency info with guests upon check-in.

Panel member and CEO of Playa Resorts, Bruce Wardinski mentioned that Hilton, Hyatt and Playa are currently investing over $300 million in projects in the Dominican Republic alone. The hoteliers’ major investments go on to prove their commitment to the destination and their confidence in the Dominican Republic’s security.

Speaking of new investments, several big hotel names are saying “the show must go on” including La Coleccion who plans to open the adults-only Live Aqua Beach Resort Punta Cana in the northern region of Uvero Alto in 2020 and AMResorts’ new Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana is slated to open in early 2020.

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