I can`t believe it, but after seeing the first few minutes of the video and the comments, you`re all right. It does look like a bad PR campaign against the DR. Not the first time, nor the last. If that Andy was anything bigger in terms of audience, I`d go directly to the head of tourism and start an investigation, and have a persona non grata letter ready to be sent if this was just a hoax.
I wrote an article not long ago, will copy some of it here ( I hope this forum is neutral in terms of politics, it seems so).
When planning a trip to a Caribbean destination, close to 90% of travelers take some time to research into the available offers from tour operators, travel guides, friend referrals, and other online sources that provide information through travel review sites, forums and specialized sites. In a competitive industry such as travel and tourism , it is expected that some destinations become affected adversely by the success of others, thus creating a market for PR attacks and negative campaigns if the competing destination has no creativity to compete in a fair way.
The Dominican Republic has been the victim of such PR attacks since more than 2 decades ago when it began to compete in the international market for all inclusive tourists that began in the city of Puerto Plata and later expanded dramatically to the Bavaro-Punta Cana areas. It is common to read online and printed reviews about inflated crime figures, poor roads, warnings about leaving the hotel zones and other misleading data that luckily some tourists double check before considering and yet after all this bad publicity the Dominican Republic still gets around 2 million visitors each year and statistics show growth, though modest due to the misleading bad PR. New York is a top world destination, and has a exceedingly high crime rate... compare that to all tourists areas of the DR combined and you`ll have all New Yorkers coming to live here.
About 50% of the bad PR goes towards the island, something that clearly shows that the false advertising comes from other competing islands, including Mexico according to published news citing DR government officials. The rest of the misleading reviews are directly aimed at the first tourist destination of the island, the North coast. Although Puerto Plata suffered when Punta Cana and Bavaro started to lobby government officials to get the bigger and eventually the whole advertising and infrastructure budget from the government, still the city retains its much higher value with a superior natural beauty and appeal – There`s no better ecofriendly and varied tourism offer than Puerto Plata, including Sosua, Cofresi, Cabarete and Costambar. Nearby Cabrera is also considered part of the extended package, with amazing places to visit.
It`s no wonder that most of the all-inclusive tourism belongs to the East of the island, which has row after row of beach resorts packed next to each other. For a weekend of beach and sun it sounds fantastic. Then there`s a more complete type of tourism that involves cultural, ecofriendly travel that takes the visitor to a wide range of tours including towns and beaches not set inside the seclusion of a resort. Puerto Plata has all that, including the largest self catering vacation rental market in the island. Another interesting factor that misleads visitors is the claim by tour operators and some beach resorts that venturing outside resorts boundaries is too dangerous, which they do because of some interesting reasons, being the main two that they want tourists to spend their dollars in the resort stores and restaurants, and the operators want to minimize losses on travel insurance if used.
Compared to other destinations (e.g. Jamaica and Mexico) the island of Dominican Republic is far less dangerous, and most crime cases can be traced back to irresponsible lifestyles related to drugs and sex for pay. Small towns such as Sosua in the North coast have seen quick change after the new major took over office, although to some it`s been too quick too hard ( some bars and restaurants complained ). In the world of advertising , perception is everything. 2012 presidential elections will be a good arena to present plans and demand change, since the current administration has failed to make tourism grow in the Dominican Republic as everyone expected in a long 8 year government.