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Travel Advisory: What does it mean and why the Bahamas & Jamaica are still fabulous places to visit

Updated: Mar 1

Despite recent travel advisories, don’t be too quick to write off the Bahamas and Jamaica as your next travel destination. Yes, they’ve been tagged as Level 3 on the travel advisory scale, but what does that really mean?



The U.S. Department of State uses four levels for travel advisories. Level 3 suggests 'Reconsider Travel'. This consideration largely stems from potential concerns about safety and security. However, it's worth remembering that advisories aren't permanent and are subject to change as situations evolve. They are also not prohibiting you from traveling, just warning you to avoid some areas and be cautious.


Details on the Advisories


Let's start with what the advisories state. The Jamaica travel advisor actually did not change in January, it's been at the same level for some time.

  1. Jamaica, click here to read the US Governments page on the travel advisory and

  2. Bahamas, click here


The Jamaica advisory points towards crime "local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents”. "Those areas include but are not limited to all of Montego Bay, downtown Kingston, part of St. Ann’s Parish near Ocho Rios, and certain neighborhoods in Negril." Also, “high level or specialized” health care may not be available across the island nation, and patients may be required to pay for medical care up front."


This is why as travel advisors WE ALWAYS recommend our clients purchase travel protection especially when traveling out of the country in the event of an emergency.


Some Facts on Tourism


Now let's looks at some data and hear from the tourism departments of both nations.

  1. Almost four million American tourists visit Jamaica each year. The United States is the top country of origin for tourism in Jamaica and it grew by 24% just in 2023.

  2. Around eight million tourists visit The Bahamas each year. 80% of those visitors are Americans.

  3. The Jamaica Tourist Board stated the crime rate against visitors to Jamaica "remains extremely low at 0.01%." Crime in general, is actually on the decline according to the Jamaican Government. There are "very distinctly defined areas within Jamaica that the advisory cites as having high risk for crime, so the majority of the island's tourism product remains unaffected." These areas mentioned are not common tourist destinations.

  4. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism stated "the Level 2 travel advisory had not changed and the incidents described in the January 2024 U.S. Embassy crime alert "do not reflect general safety in the Bahamas, a country of 16 tourism destinations, and many more islands."



What Should YOU Do?


While these advisories are essential for keeping travelers informed, they don't necessarily mean you should cancel your dreams of sun-soaked beaches and vibrant local culture. Here's why:


  1. Stay Informed: By following the current situation and making well-informed decisions, you can navigate these locations wisely and safely.

  2. Be Cautious: Much like you would be in your own country or any new place, be aware of your surroundings, avoid lone travel at night, and keep any valuable items secure.

  3. Vetted Accommodations: Stay in accommodations pre-vetted by trusted travel advisors (like us), greatly mitigating risks.


Pair those with the irreplaceable experiences these countries offer; the soul-stirring reggae rhythms of Jamaica or the crystal-clear waters of the Bahamas – these destinations have so much to offer! Remember, the U.S. also has its share of advisories and risks, varying from city to city and, sometimes, street to street. The key is to be informed and prepared.


So, why travel to the Bahamas or Jamaica? Unmatched landscapes, authentic culture, mouthwatering cuisine, and the warm hospitality of locals; these are just a few reasons these gems remain marvelous vacation destinations.


I just returned from a 3 night stay in Negril, Jamaica and I had a wonderful time! The country, and the people were all amazing. I stayed at Beaches Negril with four fellow travel advisors. For the length of our stay we were on resort property and the two excursions we did were provided by Beaches with Beaches employees. Even the transfers to and from the airport were provided by Beaches.


Just like every time I travel, I was cautious with my luggage at the airport and locked my passport in the room safe. I took the same precautions I would take when I travel anywhere. The staff was amazing and the resort was beautiful, the food and drinks were great, we had a wonderful time and I can't wait to return to Jamaica!



 

As your trusty travel advisors, we are here to ensure your ventures are as safe as they are memorable. Trust me, we wouldn't send you anywhere we wouldn't travel ourselves! It is always important to pack your common sense when you travel, no matter where you go. Staying alert and cautious of strangers are good ideas anywhere. But the bottom line is, if you are truly uncomfortable we'll find another destination suited for your dream vacation. Let us help you plan a trip that will surpass your wildest expectations while prioritizing safety!




Melissa Lenox specializes in concierge vacation planning. I cater to those who don't have time to research and plan a vacation or just don't want to do it! Where to go, when to go, daily recommendations for your trip and even assistance while you are away so the entire process is seamless and stress free.


My specialties are theme parks, all inclusive resorts and ocean cruises. I am a Gold Level, Senior Travel Advisor with Coasters & Castles Travel and Blog Editor of Main Street to the World.


Follow me on my pages below or contact me at mlenox@travelcnc.com to plan your next adventure!



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