Today Report Claims Safety is an Issue by Using David Ortiz Shooting as Example

travFACTS’ mission is to expose exaggerated or flat out misleading travel “news” that is consistently put out by media outlets. This June 20th Today article is yet another attempt by consumer media outlets to find a connection in the incidents that have occurred in the Dominican Republic.

While most exaggerated news reports as least focus only on the tourist-related tragedies, Today decides to go a step further by including the shooting of Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz in its reasons why certain safety precautions should be taken by tourists.

Apparently, it didn’t matter that the Ortiz shooting, which did not occur at a resort, was an isolated incident and was later ruled by police as a case of mistaken identity.

travFACTS takes a look at this story below:

Media Outlet: Today

Date: June 20th

Headline: Is it safe to travel to the Dominican Republic? Before your vacation, follow these tips

Deck: While many Americans may be concerned about visiting the Caribbean hot spot, there are some simple tips travelers can follow.

Where the Story Fails

Lumping crimes that did not involve vacationers with the ongoing investigations of American tourist deaths in the country is a very dangerous practice.

This feature suggests that a botched hit on the wrong guy is somehow a reflection on the safety of the destination and cause for concern for tourists.

According to the article, “And the frightening headlines aren't just limited to medical emergencies. Earlier this month, retired Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, who is from the Dominican Republic, was shot in the back at a bar in the nation's capital. And a Delaware mom said she was brutally attacked at a Dominican resort back in January.”

Not only does it throw David Ortiz into the mix, but the story also mentioned a case of a brutal assault, which also appears to be an isolated incident at this time.

And it’s not until you get deep into this story that you see the author’s admission that “Although they're a small fraction of the total number of tourists who visit the country — more than 2 million Americans visit every year, accounting for about one-third of the tourism to the Caribbean island — the sudden and mysterious circumstances have spooked some travelers.”

The Actual Facts

As far as safety goes, Americans are more likely to be killed in a homicide in the U.S. than die of unnatural causes in the Dominican Republic, according to U.S. State Department statistics reported by CNN.

Dominican Republic travel expert, Diana Weishaar, agency sales manager for Humble Travel in West Des Moines, Iowa, told travFACTS she loved her recent stay in the Dominican Republic and didn’t feel unsafe.

“My husband and I stayed at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana in the Preferred Club section,” she said. “We had a great time and enjoyed the staff, facilities, and food and beverages, including the minibar and room service. The beach was beautiful and we felt quite safe while we were there.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) last advisory to travelers heading to the Dominican Republic warned of the risk of rabies from cat and dog bites. But neither the CDC or the FBI have issued warnings about a health hazard in hotel minibars, despite investigations dating back to May.

Currently, the U.S. State Department shows the Dominican Republic at a level 2 advisory, which is the same as other Caribbean hot spots, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and Cuba. This level 2 advisory has been in place since April and hasn’t changed, despite the negative reporting. What does the State Department know that these reporters don’t know, or don’t care to know?

Other popular destinations worldwide with a level 2 advisory include Mexico, South Africa, Italy, Spain, India, Antarctica, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the Maldives.

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