NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Saying advisories that urge travellers to exercise caution when in Jamaica have impacted smaller tourism players’ ability to get a larger share of earnings from the sector, newly elected president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Elaine Allen Bradley, is hoping the country’s crime problem will be brought under control in the new year.
“If you’re gonna speak to the man on the street, they are saying that not many tourists are coming out of the resorts to mingle with the local community. But, if you are reasonable, you can understand why with advisories being given out from countries not to travel to Jamaica,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
She noted, however, that the sector is doing well, overall, as hoteliers’ fears that Government-imposed states of public emergency (SOEs) would have kept tourists away did not materialise in the US and Canadian markets.
“[Canadian Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau is here, now, enjoying Jamaica. Jamaica right now is the best place to be and it is safer even with the SOEs. And I think a lot of tourists feel very safe in Jamaica. They do not go on the streets because of the advisory. They are happy in the hotels. I would like to see more of them roaming the streets of Jamaica, especially in the tourist resorts. And, that will come but you still have to take precautions,” added Allen Bradley.
Canada is among the countries that have urged its citizens to take precautions when visiting Jamaica due to the high level of violent crimes. The latest advisory, issued two days after Trudeau and his family arrived for a week-long vacation, said guests are at risk of facing crimes of opportunity such as theft and robbery.
The advisory also referenced SOEs implemented in several parishes on Wednesday, noting that armed robberies and murders are a problem in cities and large tourist areas despite the presence of the police.
Allen Bradley is hoping the streets will become safer in 2023 which will facilitate the tricking down of financial benefits to the wider Negril community.
“Yes, you will have the robbers and the opportunists but overall, I think for me, I would love to see the tourists getting out of the all-inclusives and mingling more with the communities. Because our Minister of Tourism [Edmund Bartlett]… is wanting community tourism to start thriving. We are working towards that and we hope that that will materialise in the near future,” she said.