The Bahamas Respond To The United States Travel Advisory
A few weeks ago we covered the travel advisory that was placed on the Bahamas. It warned travelers to stay away from popular areas like the Nassau Fish Fry because of increased crime. Tourism drives the Bahamas economy so you knew they would not stand pat on this. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas drafted a response to the advisory.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Response
Here is their response in entirety from their website:
The Ministry takes note that the travel advisory from the Department of State no longer warns Americans to avoid the areas known as “Over-the-Hill” (south of Shirley Street) and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau, but, rather, notifies Americans to “exercise caution” in those areas.
The Ministry provides the following for the information of the general public:
a) Overall, the guidance of the US Department of State to its citizens remains at Level Two, which recommends caution but not actually urging delay or cancellation of travel plans to the islands of The Bahamas, falls in line with Bahamian recommendations to travellers to any destination to maintain awareness of their surroundings and exercise basic precautions, as they likely would in their home cities and when not on holiday;
b) The reality is that the vast majority of the six (6) million visitors who come to The Bahamas – by air, sea, and cruises – vacation in our islands without any incident whatsoever, but, notwithstanding, The Bahamas takes the safety of residents and visitors very seriously and will continue to work in keeping the safety and security of all visitors to our shores priority;
c) The efforts of law enforcement authorities, along with significant investments by the Government of The Bahamas in human capital and information technology to fight crime, have made significant progress in reducing serious crimes like murder (-25%), armed robbery (-18%), attempted robbery (-19%) and shop-breaking (-23%). These efforts are commended by the Administration and people of The Bahamas; and
d) There has been and continues to be collaboration between the Ministries of Tourism and Aviation and Transport and Local Government with the Port Department to address needed changes in regulation and enforcement to ensure safe and responsible operation of commercial recreational watersport and excursion tour companies.
The Ministry reiterates to the Bahamian public at large and to visitors alike that the Government of The Bahamas takes all recommendations to travelers to any destination very seriously, not only to ensure their safety and security, but to ensure their enjoyment of wonderful, meaningful, fun-filled and memorable experiences in The Bahamas.
I have been to Nassau on a few occasions, it was the location of my honeymoon too, and I have never felt unsafe. I have always found the locals to be welcoming and helpful. Having been to the Fish Fry area on several occasions as well, I always felt safe. We were warned by locals that a less desirable crowd hangs out at the nearby park at night so we avoided it during the night time. On my wife’s most recent trip a local man offered to walk with them back to their hotel at night from the Fish Fry which was a generous offer.
I think there are safe and unsafe areas no matter where you go. If you use common sense and good decision making you will negate a lot of the potential harm that could happen. I also think locals understand what tourism means to their community and are unlikely to be looking to harm tourists. I guess I would say the chance of harm are no more likely than visiting New York, Chicago or any other metropolitan area in the United States.