Despite the latest US level three travel advisory urging Americans to reconsider visiting Jamaica and listing eight of the country’s 14 parishes as areas to avoid, a key tourism stakeholder says Jamaica has a track record of being one of the safest destinations.
Jamaica’s record of visitor safety is still one of the highest in the world.
The tourism player, who is not authorised to speak publicly on the travel advisory so spoke to Loop News on condition of anonymity, added: “Less than one per cent of the visitors who come here have had any infractions [against them].
“So, whereas we recognise that advisories are made from time to time in the interest of the destinations that make them, we have to continue to strive to make our destination top of mind to our visitors and to increase even our repeat business from the 42 per cent to 50, 60 per cent,” the tourism stakeholder argued.
Besides Jamaica’s recorded 42 per cent repeat visitors, the stakeholder argued that the American market accounts for over 80 per cent of overall arrivals.
In the travel advisory issued on May 31, just ahead of the summer travel season, the US urged its citizens to reconsider travelling to Jamaica and to avoid the parishes of Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, St Andrew, St Ann, St Catherine, St James, and Westmoreland due to crime.
On the issue of crime, the tourism player urged people involved in criminal activities to stop as their actions have the potential to negatively impact the tourism sector.
“We want to urge the few people who are causing a negative impact on the destination to desist. Stop it, because it is potentially damaging to the market,” the tourism interest appealed.
Statistics released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force last Monday revealed that murders are up by 6.5 per cent nationally.
There were 574 murders recorded up to May 23, compared to 539 for the corresponding period last year.