- US Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who was born in the Dominican Republic, told Buzzfeed News he has recommended a number of changes the country should make to increase tourism safety.
- One of the recommendations was increasing food and drink standards. He also said tourism police presence should be increased.
- Nearly a dozen tourists have died from seemingly natural causes while visiting the Dominican Republic in the last year. Some of their family members believe the deaths are suspicious.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
A US Congressman from New York wants food and drink standards to be increased in the Dominican Republic, where there has been a spate of US tourist deaths at all-inclusive resorts.
Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who was born in the Dominican Republic, visited the country from July 1 to July 6 and met with local officials, tourism executives, and US embassy staff, according to Buzzfeed News.
Nearly a dozen tourists have died from seemingly natural causes while visiting all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic within the last year. Some of their family members believe the deaths are suspicious.
The US State Department told INSIDER that it doesn’t publish data regarding natural deaths abroad, but said there has not been “an uptick in the number of US citizen deaths reported” in the Dominican Republic compared to previous years.
Among six tourism safety recommendations Espaillat detailed to Buzzfeed, was increasing national standards on food and alcohol.
“No one really knows whether they died from alcohol poisoning or pre-existing conditions,” Espaillat told Buzzfeed of the recent deaths.
Punta Cana’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino announced last month that it would stop offering liquor to guests in hotel room minibars after two men died at the resort.
Espaillat also recommended increasing tourism police presence and encouraged Americans to continue visiting the island.
“I am deeply concerned about the recent deaths of US citizens visiting the Dominican Republic. My office will do everything we can to get answers and understand these cases,” he said in a statement to Buzzfeed. “The Dominican Republic, though, continues to be one of the top tourist destinations for Americans.
- Read more:
- 16 seemingly suspicious cases of tourists getting sick, assaulted, and dying in the Dominican Republic in the past year
- Delta is waiving penalty fees for travelers canceling their flights to the Dominican Republic
- Steve Harvey’s Dominican Republic ‘Sand & Soul’ festival is moving to Cancun
- A Dominican Republic health official said any tie between the spate of recent tourist deaths is ‘fake news’