A spate of deaths of U.S. tourists in the Dominican Republic, which have received extensive media coverage, and are now being investigated by the FBI, caused tourist numbers to decrease although there is now some improvement. At the same time, tourism to other Caribbean islands has jumped.
A report by ForwardKeys, a global travel industry data company, which analyzes over 17 million flight bookings a day, reveals that travel bookings from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic fell 84.4 percent for July and August as compared to the same period in 2018. However, bookings between June 26 and July 2, started to inch upward, down 72.5 percent.
At the same time as bookings to the country have decreased, bookings for some other Caribbean islands have surged. From June 17-25, Jamaica’s bookings were up 54.3 percent, the Bahamas bookings were up 45.3 percent, and Aruba’s bookings were up 49.9 percent.
Flight bookings from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic are starting to rebound. “I am greatly relieved for the Dominican Republic that the crisis in confidence appears to be abating and I am hopeful that it will be relatively short-lived, particularly if there are no more deaths and if the current FBI investigation establishes a clear cause of death in each case and none of the causes was sinister,” said Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at ForwardKeys, in a statement.
In 2018, 6.6 million tourists visited the Dominican Republic, of which 3.2 million came from the United States and Canada, and almost 30 million tourists have visited in the last five years.