People in Charlotte Canceling Trips to the Dominican Republic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – “Every year I take my daughter away for Spring Break,” says south Charlotte resident Danielle Mitchell. Last year, it was Aruba. This year, Mitchell was going to travel to Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. She says, “I looked into it, I booked it. And then…”

And then, reports of tourists getting sick, even dying, during or after trips to the DR, started piling up. At least 11 Americans have died after apparent sudden health issues while vacationing in the Dominican Republic since June 2018. The FBI currently has a team in the DR, assisting with the toxicology tests of three American deaths, some of which could be related to alcohol.

“I decided I just didn’t want to deal with the stress,” Mitchell called her travel agent – and re-booked to Mexico. “She said there was a long list of people that were calling,” she says.

“We have been getting a lot of calls,” says Roni Fishkin with Mann Travels. Fishkin says her agents are more than happy to help concerned travelers and communicate with resorts on their behalf. “We have long-standing relationships and we have been able to re-accommodate them, find them a different Caribbean island to go to.”

But she says a lot of people have decided to still go. She shared photos with WCCB from a client’s recent family trip to the DR. No complaints, no concerns. Fishkin says, “As terrible as the stories are, they’re really not rising to the level of it being a trend.”

The US Embassy announced the FBI’s involvement in early June, and says results from those tests may take up to 30 days. American Airlines, Delta and Jet-Blue are working with passengers who want to change or cancel Dominican flights.