The slump in air bookings and jump in flight cancellations to the Dominican Republic that coincided with a spate of tourist deaths there appears to be reversing, according to ForwardKeys.
From June 1 to July 2, air bookings from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic for July and August fell by 84.4% compared to the equivalent period in 2018, ForwardKeys said.
However, ForwardKeys reported July 5 that bookings had bottomed on June 19, but by June 26 bookings again exceeded cancellations. The overall decline improved from June 17 to 25, when bookings were down 143% from the same period last year, to June 26 to July 2, when bookings were down only 72.5%, according to the firm, which analyzes over 17 million air bookings a day.
FowardKeys also found wavering interest in the Caribbean destinations that seemed to be benefiting from the Dominican Republic's decline: the recent increases in air bookings to Jamaica, Bahamas and Aruba fell starting June 26. Jamaica, for example, which had experienced a 54.3% year-over-year increase in bookings June 17 to 25, was only up 13.4% June 26 to July 2. The Bahamas was up 45.3% during June 17 to 25 but up 13.3% June 26 to July 2.
Olivier Ponti, vice president of Insights for ForwardKeys, said that the "avalanche of media interest and speculation" around the deaths of U.S. citizens occurring at the end of May and in early June "was bound to put some holidaymakers off, and indeed that is what we saw."
"I am greatly relieved for the Dominican Republic that the crisis in confidence appears to be abating, and I am hopeful that it will be relatively short lived, particularly if there are no more deaths and if the current FBI investigation establishes a clear cause of death in each case and none of the causes were sinister," Ponti stated.