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The Dominican Republic’s Unfortunate Dance with the 24/7 Media

DRVisitors to the Dominican Republic occasionally die. Visitors to virtually every destination die, far from home and unexpectedly.

In the Dominican Republic's case, it's the unusual frequency that has caught the media's attention. And, while the situation probably doesn't warrant the attention it has been getting over the past month, let's be honest. This is the kind of story today's media loves because it panders to one of our biggest fears, being alone in a foreign place with nowhere to turn for help.

And, the media coverage has had a massive impact on travel to the island. Air travel purchases are down 10% from the same period last year. Hotel bookings are down 74% for July and August and 59% of Travel Agents say their clients are reconsidering trips to the Dominican Republic.

And, Rick Springfield canceled a concert.

It all points to a debilitating year for the country. And, probably, good news for Puerto Rico.

Here's the thing: the State Department says that it is not registering an abnormal increase in American deaths in the Dominican Republic. At the same time, reportedly healthy travelers dropping dead suggests something's not right.

However (and here's the lesson to be learned), you don't say that deaths are a normal occurrence in your country (even if they are). But, that's what the Tourism Minister told reporters last month when he said that (the then) eight deaths over a 6 month period wasn't unusual.

Ummm...nobody expects to die on vacation. And, you just told them that people do that in your county?

Yeah...that didn't help.

At all.

 

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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