US bookings to the Dominican Republic have started to recover following a dramatic slump in the wake of a series of mysterious tourist deaths on the island.
The drop in bookings and an increase in flight cancellations at the end of May and early June appears to be reversing, according to latest data from ForwardKeys, which analyses over 17 million flight bookings a day.
Bookings for July and August from the US fell by 84.4% in the month from June 1 compared to the equivalent period in 2018.
A total of six American holidaymakers were found dead in the Dominican Republic in less than a month.
One theory is that bootleg alcohol could be to blame and the FBI is now investigating.
However, daily data reveals that bookings bottomed out on June 19, two days after the death of tourist Vittorio Caruso and they exceeded cancellations again on June 26.
In the two months prior to the deaths on May 30 of Nathaniel Holmes and Cynthia Day, bookings had been up 2.8%.
The decline in bookings to the Dominican Republic was offset by a surge in bookings for other Caribbean destinations, most notably Jamaica, Bahamas and Aruba.
The surge of interest in alternative islands has slowed with the recovery in bookings for Dominican Republic.
ForwardKeys insights vice president Olivier Ponti said: “The deaths of US citizens which occurred around the end of May and early June triggered an avalanche of media interest and speculation.
“That kind of attention was bound to put some holidaymakers off and indeed that is what we saw.
“I am greatly relieved for the Dominican Republic that the crisis in confidence appears to be abating and I am hopeful that it will be relatively short lived, particularly if there are no more deaths and if the current FBI investigation establishes a clear cause of death in each case and none of the causes was sinister.”
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