by Lisa A. Grimaldi | January 25, 2018
Jamaica's Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says the country open for business in spite of the government's declaration of a limited state of emergency for its St. James Parish/Montego Bay area (left) and the subsequent security alert for the region that was issued by the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica. The alerts were put in place last week following a military crackdown after several recent shootings in the parish.
In a statement to the country's travel partners, Bartlett said: "No doubt you have received questions regarding the current state of public emergency for the parish of St. James, implemented by Government. A State of Public Emergency is a tool to ensure enhanced security for all persons entering and leaving a particular geographic area. It does not require any modification of movement, as restrictions in the stated areas should not adversely impact law-abiding persons. All business activities will function as normal, including all airports, cruise ports, hotels and attractions. Allow me to reassure you, our valued travel partners, that Jamaica remains open for business. The enhanced security measures in St. James have been put into action to ensure the continued safety of our residents and visitors. I am pleased to report that individuals and groups have been enjoying their daily activities throughout the various resort regions without issue. As a destination, we have been fortunate to have very few negative incidents against visitors, which is borne out in the statistics, and we believe the current proactive initiative will only serve to boost our record of safety and security. Note that for 2017 we had in excess of 4 million visitors (2.3 million stopover and 1.9 million cruise visitors), with over 40 percent repeat rate. We appreciate the great work you do in promoting and selling Jamaica and wish to laud your unwavering commitment. It is our hope that you will continue to help us in getting the word out that all is well in Jamaica, even as we seek to maintain our reputation of providing a safe, secure and satisfying travel experience."
As of press time, the U.S. State Department's alert for Jamaica remains at Level 2 ("exercise increased caution").