The Jamaica Tourist Board is downplaying a U.S. government travel warning for would-be visitors to the island.
“There are very distinctly defined areas within Jamaica that the advisory cites as having high risk for crime, which means the majority of the island’s tourism product remains unaffected,” the Jamaica Tourist Board said in response to an Open Jaw request for comment on the U.S. move. “Overall, the crime rate against visitors to Jamaica remains extremely low at 0.01%”
“The island consistently ranks among the top destinations for international travel, and visitors can continue to come with confidence to enjoy all that Jamaica has to offer,” officials said.
“The tourism board in Canada has been in regular communication with travel advisors and industry partners regarding the advisory and agents are welcome to contact their local JTB BDM should they have any questions or concerns.”
The U.S. State Department recently said visitors should “reconsider travel” to Jamaica because of increased crime in the Caribbean nation.
A note to "reconsider travel" is the third level of warnings in the U.S. State Department travel advisory system. The fourth and highest level states "Do Not Travel."
The Washington Post reports that U.S. authorities escalated their warning for Jamaica to a Level 3 "reconsider travel" advisory last week, which the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica later reinforced. An embassy statement said violent crimes — including armed robberies, sexual assaults and homicides — are common, and it specifically claimed that “sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”
In its last update on 29JAN, the Canadian government’s travel advisory site warns that Canadians should “exercise a high degree of caution in Jamaica due to the high level of violent crime.” Exercising a high degree of caution is the second level in Canada's four-level warning system. The third level, which Jamaica is not listed under, says Canadians should avoid non-essential travel to a specific country.
The U.S. recently put The Bahamas in the Level 2 travel advisory category because of a recent rash of murders on New Providence, the island where Nassau is located.
The most recent Canadian travel advisory also has The Bahamas at the second level and warns Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution in the Bahamas due to high rates of crime, especially in Freeport and Nassau.”