ATLANTA — Growing concerns continue over vacationing in the Dominican Republican after a tenth American died after traveling from the popular tourist spot.
The Louisiana woman died less than a week after returning from her honeymoon. Many travelers are fine with still traveling to the Dominican Republic. But, others aren’t willing to take the risk.
“They’re afraid of dying, they’re afraid of being sick, they’re afraid of being poisoned," said Krystle Kelley.
Kelley is an international travel agent and said her phone continues to ring after the reported deaths of Americans who traveled to the Dominican Republic.
“This is a special situation. I’ve seen people cancel because of Zika, because of Ebola or terrorist threats. This one is a little bit different.”
She explained 70 percent of her clients canceled their trips to the Dominican Republic. She and other travel agents 11Alive spoke with said their clients are fearful of going to the island, as it’s still unknown whether the 10 Americans who traveled there died of natural causes.
Tamara Jackson, a Dallas, Georgia mother of three decided to cancel her upcoming July trip.
“The final straw for me was the guy from New Jersey. The 55-year-old guy. When they found him in the room."
She dropped an extra $650 to re-book a trip to Cozumel, Mexico instead.
“For me, it’s the unknown. I didn’t want to put me kids in that environment. I just wanted to be safe.”
But, not everyone is scared to return. Atlanta radio personality Big Tigger posted he plans to host his annual pool party in the Dominican Republic, writing “last year 2019 21 people (visitors) died by July as compared to 8 this year" in a post on Instagram.
For perspective in 2018, 2.3 million Americans traveled to the island. Thirty of them died- either by suicide, homicide, drowning or accidents, according to the U.S. State Department.
Kelley added she’s had clients recently return from Punta Cana and they feel fine but, she understands why some don’t think the trip is worth it
“I understand people canceling because it’s scary.”
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