WATCH: Travel Agents Share Real Experiences From the Dominican Republic
Who better to show that the Dominican Republic is a safe destination than travel experts themselves?
Apple Leisure Group Vacations, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana and travAlliancemedia sent 14 Caribbean travel specialists to the DR as part of the travFORUM program this past November so that they could share their real experiences with their clients and fellow travelers.
"I've been a travel agent for about 15 years now and this is my seventh trip to the Dominican Republic. As a travel agency and a traveler myself, I would never want to send someone to a destination that's unsafe. The Dominican Republic has never been unsafe. I think that it's safer than it's ever been before," said veteran travel advisor Brandon Smith of Springfield, Missouri-based 417 Travel.
Even first-time visitors said they were pleasantly surprised by the contrast between real life and the mainstream media narrative.
"I've never been here before. I had defintely heard a lot of the rumors that were swirling around in the U.S. about safety concerns but it's just been really cool to actually get to come on-site and experience it, meet the people, see all of the different resorts and I can honestly say that I've been blown away," said Molly Gay of BE The Travel in Nashville, Tennessee.
"I knew that it was a beautiful place and that I was excited to come but it's exceeded all of my expectations. I've felt totally safe and have absolutely loved all of the people that I've met, all of the locals and the staff at all of the resorts," added Gay.
You can view more real experiences from the DR from the playlist below.