Incidents with Travelers in the Dominican Republic

Incidents with Travelers in the Dominican Republic

Traveler carries their passport
Julie Hall

There have been several recent media reports of three travelers – a Pennsylvania woman and a Maryland couple – who died days apart at adjacent sister resorts in the Dominican Republic (Bahia Principe Bouganville and Grand Bahia Principe La Romana). Local authorities are investigating, and have said these appear to be separate, unrelated incidents. A Colorado couple has filed suit against the La Romana property, alleging they were sickened at the resort last year. And a Delaware woman has recounted an attack at a separate resort in the Dominican Republic that occurred in January.

In April, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 2 travel advisory for the Dominican Republic, urging Americans to exercise increased caution due to violent crime in the country. The advisory notes that the development of a professional tourist police corps, institution of a 911 system in many parts of the country, and a concentration of resources in resort areas means these tend to be better policed than urban areas.

If travelers decide to visit the Dominican Republic, the State Department urges:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Follow the advice of resort and tour operators regarding local safety and security concerns.

AAA Travel and Public Affairs have prepared the following talking points to assist clubs if asked about travel to the Dominican Republic by members or the news media.

AAA Travel Tips

  • Travelers should heed the advice of the U.S. State Department’s Dominican Republic Travel Advisory.
  • The decision to travel is a very personal one that must be made by the individual. Everyone should stay informed and remain vigilant when traveling.
  • If travelers choose to visit the Dominican Republic, AAA advises them to:
    • Follow the State Department recommendations.
    • Stay informed and enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This makes it easier for the nearest embassy or consulate to contact U.S. citizens in case of an emergency.
    • Broaden their peripheral vision and always remain vigilant about their personal security and surroundings.
    • Review the State Department’s Traveler’s Checklist for more tips.

Anyone with travel plans should consult their travel providers or a travel agent for any changes to travel plans or requirements. AAA travel counselors are available to assist members.