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Bartlett assures US stakeholders Jamaica safe for tourists

By Prince Moore 

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has sought to assure tourists in the United States that Jamaica is a safe destination.

Mr. Bartlett led a team of senior tourism officials to the United States to engage with critical stakeholders in Jamaica's largest visitor source market.

The visit follows last month's US advisory urging its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Jamaica due to increased risk of violent crimes.

The US State Department said sections of St. Elizabeth, Manchester, St. Thomas and Trelawny have been included on the Do Not Travel list for its citizens.

Jamaica remains at Level 3 on the travel advisory.

But Mr. Bartlett said violence against tourists remains low.

"One of the reasons that we're here is to help our partners to appreciate that we are not unmindful of these advisories but that we are taking all the steps necessary to ensure that hopefully in time, we have no advisories at all. The good news, however, is that the record of Jamaica in terms of visitor safety is very enviable," he said, noting that less than one per cent of the crimes in Jamaica are committed against visitors. 

The minister boasted that Jamaica's ability to attract repeat visitors is also enviable, since 42 per cent of the people who travel to the island each year have visited at least once before.