Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is responding to a recently reissued U.S. Travel Advisory, which recommends visitors to the Bahamas use caution due to violent crime.
The statement points out that the “guidance to citizens remains a Level Two advisory recommending caution, but not actually urging delay or cancellation of travel plans to our islands. The U.S. has issued 208 Travel Advisories ranging from Level 1 to Level 4; The Bahamas is among 55 countries with a Level 2 advisory and we are in the company of France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Mexico and China. We recommend that travelers 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.”
According to the statement, “there are 6 million annual visitors to the Bahamas and the vast majority of those visitors do so without any incidents. According to Royal Bahamas Police data for 2018 there were only 43 incidents involving tourists, of which 30 involved U.S. nationals, none (0) involved Canadians, and nearly all were minor offences.”
The State Department advisory, issued on Feb. 25, says “violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during the day and in tourist areas.”
The advisory specifically references New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahamas islands (Freeport), saying they are where “the vast majority” of crimes occur.
The department also emphasized the dangers of recreational watercraft because they are not “consistently regulated.”
“Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas,” the warning said. “Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists. As a result, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.”
If travelers end up going to the Bahamas anyway, below are some tips from the State Department:
▪ Exercise caution in the area known as “Over the Hill” (south of Shirley Street) and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau, especially at night.
▪ Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.
▪ Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
▪ Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
▪ Review the Crime and Safety Report for The Bahamas.
▪ U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.