HOUSTON — The recent deaths in the Dominican Republic are raising concerns and even prompting some travelers to cancel their summer plans.
Ten Americans have died in the Dominican Republic in the last 12 months.
The most recent is 55-year-old Joseph Allen who was found dead in his hotel room last Thursday after complaining he was hot at the pool and went up to take a shower.
While we wait for autopsy results to tell us what happened to him, there are still lots of questions surrounding the other deaths -- and those questions are leading to cancellations.
“It does put the fear of the unknown into people," said Shayla Northcutt with Northcutt Travel Agency.
Northcutt said she’s already had 12 couples cancel or re-route their trips to the Dominican Republic. Even some weddings have been booked elsewhere.
“It’s just frustrating because we don’t have the answers," Northcutt said.
She said without knowing what’s happening, it’s hard to tell her customers that it’s safe. But she’s not completely convinced it’s not.
“Our heart goes out to those families for those unfortunate events, but why aren’t we focusing on the 999,000 other people who’ve had the great experiences who haven’t had anything happen to them?" Northcutt said.
Right now, the Department of State only has one travel advisory on the Dominican Republic. It’s a warning on crime released back in April, saying armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault are a concern throughout the country.
But as for any other warnings, Northcutt said the sooner we know, the better.
“They turn to us and we’re supposed to have the hidden answers, but this is beyond us," Northcutt said. "The thing that I hope happens is that these people get the answers that they’re looking for because in turn with those answers, we’re going to all get answers.”
The best advice she has now for travelers is safety is not guaranteed in any trip you take, and do what makes you feel most comfortable.
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