After a Denver man became the 13th American tourist to die in the Dominican Republic earlier this month, the chairman of one popular hotel and resort has publicly addressed what some are calling a “mystery.”
In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Friday, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen suggests that conspiracy or foul play isn’t to blame for recent deaths on the island, but says it may be the difference in water.
Two tourists have died while on vacation at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, Daily Mail reports. While there’s been a lot of speculation regarding illegal alcohol and poisoning, Allen says that “people get sick simply many times by just drinking water that’s different here than what we are used to in the United States.”
“There have been seven deaths over the last year and a half and certainly they will be investigated. We have to wait for the Dominican to come back with specifics on all of those unfortunate passings,” he added.
While investigations are ongoing, families of victims such as Cynthia Ann Day and Nathaniel Edward Holmes have announced plans to carry out their own autopsies to find out “the truth.”
“They don’t want investigations to be skewed. I’m not suggesting that would be the case, but they simply want to take no chances,” their attorney Steven Bullock said.
Apparently, media coverage of the deaths have taken a toll on the country’s tourism. Allen claims that market bookings are ‘understandably’ down 20 percent. Delta Airlines has also announced that they would re-book or cancel flights to the Dominican Republic for passengers free of charge.