June 9, 2024

Travel agent says don’t panic amid death at resort

Travel agent says don’t panic amid death at resort

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After a Maryville couple was found dead inside a Sandals resort in the Bahamas, some people may be debating whether to take their next big trip, particularly in other countries.

According to a local travel agent, it is not time to cancel your plans or panic.

Lina Shatara has been a travel agent for almost 40 years. She has planned getaways, pilgrimages, and educational tours and has been on plenty of trips herself. In fact, she has taken several familiarization trips, or FAM trips, ahead of customers.

“Fam Trips are designed to equip participants with adequate product knowledge to either sell onto clients or publish for media coverage. Travel businesses host Fam Trips to showcase their business and product to the people who resell or cover them in media.”


“It’s up to us to go and experience the service, experience the food, experience the cleanliness,” Shatara explained. “For one to know what the client is looking for and matching the right resort with the client.”

After nearly four decades planning trips, Shatara knows how to ensure not just a fun trip, but also a safe one.

“Research is key,” Shatara said. “Looking up what people have said about the resort in every little detail and about the area itself. I use quite a bit of Trip Advisor, which means looking up what people have said about the resort in every little detail and about the area itself.”

Shatara encourages her clients to research their destination’s location, its reviews, its nearby spots and to find out what kind of people will be staying at that spot. In addition, although Shatara suggests telling someone you trust your travel plans, she strongly urges people not to tell strangers where you are staying.

“Crime can happen anywhere. It exists everywhere. It’s up to the individual to practice common sense and practice caution.”

Lina Shatara

Shatara’s suggestions come at a time when some people may be nervous to travel following the death of Maryville couple Robbie and Michael Philips. The couple was found dead inside a Bahamas resort.

Maryville couple Bahamas Sandals resort deaths
Robbie Phillips, left and Michael Phillips. Photo credit: Phillips Family

Despite the tragic discovery, Shatara says now is not the time to panic.

“It does not make me feel any less ease travelling on those trips,” Shatara told WATE. “Whether it’s on Gay Street or whether in the Bahamas or whether it’s in Paris. It can happen anywhere.”

Below are additional tips from Shatara:

  1. Always purchase trip and travel insurance in case of any unexpected emergencies or situations
  2. Know what agencies and organizations you should call in case of an emergency

To learn more about Shatara’s services, visit her website. You can also find additional coverage regarding the Phillips’ death here.