Stats: Dominican Republic Tops Cancun for Thanksgiving Travel

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic // Photo by valio84sl/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The Dominican Republic is this year’s most popular international destination for Thanksgiving travel, according to Allianz Global Assistance’s Top 10 Thanksgiving Destination Index. According to the study, which analyzed more than 2.4 million flight itineraries, the number of Americans traveling internationally to the Dominican Republic for Thanksgiving has nearly quadrupled in size since last year. 

Allianz Global Assistance reviewed Americans’ travel plans around Thanksgiving, with outbound travel scheduled between Saturday, November 23 and Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28, 2019. Since the survey began in 2015, Cancun dominated as the number one international destination for Thanksgiving travelers. While it remains on this year’s international list, this year Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, has climbed seven positions to the top of the international index.

The spike in holiday travel is significant for the Dominican Republic, which has seen its tourism sector suffer this year after a series of stories in the consumer media on so-called mysterious deaths caused heavy damage to its public perception. Despite the fact that a recent FBI report found no wrongdoing in the deaths — confirming the results of an earlier investigation by Dominican authorities — travel to the destination dropped significantly this year. According to the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), 58 percent of the organization’s members saw trip cancellations or postponements to the Dominican Republic due to the negative coverage. 


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While much of the consumer reporting focused on the possibility of tainted alcohol, the FBI’s toxicology testing found no evidence of methanol poisoning. Additionally, the report found that there has been no increase over the past several years in the number of U.S. citizens who pass away while visiting or living in the Dominican Republic, despite the impression of a rise in such incidents generated by the reports. 

Throughout the entire time of the incidents, the State Department’s travel advisory rating for the Dominican Republic remained at Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The other Top 10 international destinations for Thanksgiving travel in order of popularity, according to Allianz, are London, Paris, San Juan, San Jose Del Cabo, Nassau, Puerto Vallarta, Montego Bay and Mexico City. For the fifth consecutive year, New York City is the preferred domestic Thanksgiving destination among American travelers. After New York City, the top U.S destinations include Atlanta, Orlando, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Seattle, Detroit, Chicago and Phoenix. Chicago rejoins the list this year, knocking out Minneapolis as a top 10 destination.
According to Allianz’s survey, the day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday, November 27) remains the busiest departure day for domestic destinations, with travelers most commonly taking four-day-long trips. International travelers are getting a head start on their Thanksgiving travel, with the most popular departure date being Saturday, November 23.

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