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Mystery tourist deaths hit double figures in tourist hotspot

Tainted alcohol could be behind fatalities

With tourist deaths in the country reaching double figures over the last year, the Dominican Republic is taking strong measures to prevent any further fatalities. 


Punta Cana


At least 10 American travellers have died in the Caribbean nation since June 2018. And while the Dominican Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier García says that number is actually lower than in some years, the concern is that the causes of the deaths remain a mystery. 


According to USA Today, some of the deceased visitors were said to have consumed alcohol from hotel mini-bars prior to their deaths.  


With this in mind, the Dominican Tourism Ministry has announced that the island nation will immediately implement programs to rebuild confidence in visitors, starting with tighter regulation of food and beverage services in tourist destinations. 


A statement by the Ministry says that hotels will need to “provide inspectors with detailed food handling protocols as well as comprehensive information on all food and beverage suppliers”, while the department will continue to “closely monitor” hotels’ medical facilities and staff. 


Meanwhile, an emergency centre staffed with multilingual workers will be established in popular destination Punta Cana, and there will be stricter controls over emergency procedures at hotels. 


In related news, authorities in Costa Rica have confirmed that 19 people died after drinking tainted alcohol from various brands in the last six weeks. 


Consequently, officials in the Central American nation confiscated 30,000 bottle of liquor last weekend. 


According to USA Today, nearly 20% of liquor sales in Costa Rica come from illicit alcohol. However, in the Dominican Republic that number is nearly 30% and in Mexico it is even higher.


Have you ever come across tainted alcohol whilst abroad?


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 23 July 2019

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