NASSAU, Bahamas, Mar 4, CMC – The Bahamas government says the “vast majority” of the six million visitors to the country do so without “any incident whatsoever” as it responded to the latest travel advisory issued by the United States.
In a statement, the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation said while it notes that overall, the guidance to US citizens remains a Level Two advisory recommending caution, “we recommend that travellers to any destination maintain awareness of their surroundings and exercise basic precautions, as they likely would in their home cities and when not on holiday.
“In reality, the vast majority of our six million annual visitors do so without any incident whatsoever,” the Ministry of Tourism said, quoting 2018 figures provided by the Royal Bahamas Police that showed there were “only 43 incidents involving tourists, of which 30 involved US nationals and nearly all were minor offences.
“The Ministry of Tourism appreciates the efforts of law enforcement and congratulates authorities on the progress they have made in significantly reducing serious crimes like murder, armed robbery, attempted robbery and shoplifting.
“The safety of residents and visitors is of paramount importance and efforts to maintain and improve security are a constant priority for Bahamas authorities as is true for all governments.”
The authorities here said that safety and security efforts include the use of CCTV in addition to a heightened police presence with foot, bicycle and motor patrols across all areas referenced in the US advisory and tourist areas.
They said they had also beefed up security measures to ensure the safety of watercraft activities and have also adopted the Small Commercial Vessel Code and Caribbean Cargo Ship Safety Code that ‘stipulate higher inspection standards, mandatory safety equipment required on board vessels, criteria for domestic or home built vessels, dry docking inspections and increased ship manning requirements.
“Safety and security on land and at sea is critically important for visitors and for the Bahamian people. Aggressive efforts are underway across all relevant Bahamian ministries and departments to ensure that our islands remain a destination that provides a welcoming environment where visitors enjoy our culture and our citizens enjoy economic opportunity,” the government added.
Tourism is a major revenue earner for the Bahamas providing 51 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and providing employment for half of the country’s work force.