Local travel agent sees increase in questions about the Dominican Republic

June 19th, 2019 (last updated)

With several American Tourist dying on vacation in the Dominican Republic, local travel agents say they have seen some reconsidering their booked trip.

Last year, more than 2 million Americans visited the Dominican Republic, making it one of the most popular destinations. But now, there is a growing concern for safety and some are reconsidering their trip.

Local travel agencies said questions about the Dominican Republic have been rolling in after the news of several Americans died while vacationing there. 

Agents said  they understand the concerns and are accommodating customers as needed.

Some people, who were looking for an escape from their hectic day-to-day reality and planned a trip to the Dominican Republic, have been reconsidering as recent news came into light. 

“We’re keeping everybody well informed as to what are the options,” said Chistianne Lehman, Travel Consultant specializing in the Caribbean at Central Travel. “Addressing all of their concerns because it is important.”

Central Travel plans trips across the world for customers in the Toledo area from their multiple offices. They predict 50% of their clients with trips planned for the Dominican Republic are looking at their options. 

Some are canceling, others re-booking or changing locations. 

Central Travel’s partners in the Dominican Republic have not had any incidents, but said the officials they work with have been very responsive and have accommodated the needs and concerns of their American visitors.

“They have been more than willing to reach out to us with statements, (offering) what they can do to help us,” Lehman said. “Our local contacts have all been very resourceful.”

They said people who planned trips independently haven’t been as lucky and some have even lost money on the trip they never took. 

Central Travel said that while some are canceling, others aren’t letting the recent deaths stop them from their dream vacation. 

Lehman explained there are deaths and criminal issues happening across the world, including right here in the United States. She said Central Travel is still planning trips with their preferred vendors.

“We’ve had clients who have had just recently returned who have all come back and have raved about the destination,” Lehman said.

The Dominican Republic is under a level two travel advisory and as a result, visitors are warned to exercise increased caution. But travel consultants said this is important anytime you’re in a different country.

“The most important thing out of all of this is, as an American citizen, you need to pack common sense in your bags whenever you go somewhere,” Lehman said.

Travel agents said American deaths in the Dominican Republic haven’t dropped the prices of trips to the island and they said you shouldn’t expect it either.

They said all-inclusive trips to the Caribbean country typically booked several months in advance can cost upwards of $3,000.

Lehman said they haven’t seen many declining a trip to the Dominican Republic., but people right now are mostly planning trips to Europe.

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