Bill Clinton has work to do on his PR pitch. The former president tried to give some PR love to the Dominican Republic, which has been reeling on the tourism front since the mysterious deaths of nine tourists last year.

Taking a break at the Playa Grande Golf Course on Jan. 7, the president called the DR  “beautiful” and a “great place to be.”  

ClintonSource: Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

Clinton said, “I think the Dominican Republic is well on its way to full recovery from the little hiccup we had over the tourism.” 

Families and friends of the dead Americans would surely take umbrage at the little hiccup reference.

The ex-president went on to say, “There are 58 countries in the world which are less safe for American tourists than the Dominican Republic—and that’s what the tests show, so people should come here and have a good time.” Yikes!

A quick review of State Dept. travel advisories show countries rated riskier for US travelers than the DR include Libya, Lebanon, Venezuela, Honduras, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan Pakistan, Mali, Iran, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Chad, Syria, Nigeria, North Korea and Haiti.

Is Bill’s message, Americans who had their hearts set on a vacation jaunt to Damascus should consider the DR instead?

The DR’s consulate general in New York and the Ministry of Tourism see PR gold in Clinton’s remarks.

They are distributing a transcript of his homage to the DR and a video via Rubenstein PR and BVK PR.

In seizing upon Clinton's "plug," the DR is grasping at straws.

While the DR scrambles for visitors, the upsurge in tourism is becoming a major concern for the travel business.

Falling airfares and globalization have sparked a huge spike in the number of international/domestic travelers from 1B to 8B today.

Places like Venice are choked by the number of day-trippers, leading to calls to restrict the number of visitors. And try to take a stroll in midtown Manhattan during the ever-expanding tourist season.

MMGY, a travel PR firm, released a survey Jan. 8 that shows Americans are increasingly aware of the impact of tourism in the age of global warming, but people aren’t going to cancel their travel plans any time soon.

About four-in-ten (37 percent) of travelers say overcrowding is a serious issue. Forty-one percent say they will visit destinations in the off-season to reduce overcrowding, while 27 percent plan to book trips with environmentally friendly hotels.

MMGY’s respondents, however, believe travel helps them better understand the global warming problem Only 12 percent, who say travel negatively impacts the environment, regret making their last trip.

Another 34 percent say their travel allows them to learn more about the impact of climate change and 32 percent say travel increases their urge to help people in areas impacted by global warming.

Travel is viewed as a “problem and solution” in the fight against climate change and global warming. 

Bon voyage.