SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A Central Florida travel agency said its customers are still traveling to the Dominican Republic despite recent reports of several American tourists dying after visiting the island country.
Bob Cook with Go Travel in Longwood said the Dominican Republic is a popular tourist destination. More than 2.7 million U.S. citizens visit every year for the sandy beaches and the all-inclusive resorts.
"Our clients love the Dominican Republic," Cook said.
He adds the agency's busy season is usually in the spring, but they do have a group of 30 people leaving for the Caribbean country next week.
Despite recent headlines of at least nine Americans dying in the past year after staying at resorts on the island, he said the group isn't changing its plans.
"No one is canceling," Cook said.
The U.S. State Department said there hasn't been an unusual spike in reported deaths in the Dominican Republic. It also hasn't issued a travel alert specific to the travelers' deaths.
But some tourists are still worried. As the list of tourists falling ill grows, the company Insure My Trip reports three out of every 10 calls it's getting are for trip cancellations.
Cook said if you have concerns, contact your vacation planner.
"Talk to your travel agent. Talk to the airline. Talk to the hotel. Tell them your concerns and see what they'll do for you," he said.
Cook said you may not get a refund. It's usually on a case-by-case basis.
He adds if travelers are worried about their safety, then they should think about postponing their trip to the island.
"I can't say yes or no, go or don't go. That's not up to me to do that. Follow your heart, follow what you think is right," Cook said.
Cook said he doesn't think the headlines will negatively impact tourism for the Dominican Republic in the long term.
He adds if you do decide to go, be vigilant.
"Don't be scared, be aware. Take control of your surroundings," Cook said. "Just have common sense on what you're doing when you go there."
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