In a year that saw record-breaking tourism numbers for the stunning islands, it’s perhaps not surprising that concerns about tourist safety have surfaced. While the majority of visitors to The Bahamas experience their tropical getaway without incident, gang violence in the country’s capital has been rising sharply, with 18 murders reported so far this year.
The embassy advises US citizens to exercise increased caution and remain vigilant in areas frequented by tourists, particularly in the ‘Over the Hill’ area of Nassau. It adds that travelers should use caution after dark, keep a low profile, and not attempt to ‘physically resist’ robbery or other criminal activity. The embassy also advises American citizens to avoid the eastern parts of New Providence Island, where gang-on-gang violence has led to “a high homicide rate primarily impacting residents.”
Crime is a fickle topic that ebbs and flows in any country, but it’s unsettling when lives are lost at such an alarming pace in a place that attracts millions of visitors each year. As such, those with plans to visit the Bahamas are advised to take the embassy’s warning seriously and reconsider their travel plans for this winter.
As a result, the country’s tourism industry has been taking a hit, with some hotels and resorts cutting their rates to draw in guests from other destinations. Many have also been implementing extra security measures, with additional police patrols and staff at major airports to ensure the safety of travelers.
Although the embassy’s level of advice for visiting Americans has been elevated to Level 2 (Exercise Increased Caution), it’s still a safe destination compared with other Caribbean destinations. Jamaica, meanwhile, has been rated as Level 3 (Reconsider Travel), with an even more stark warning for tourists based on high crime and inconsistent access to emergency medical services.
Regardless of security, The Bahamas is still a gorgeous Caribbean paradise that ticks all the boxes for an unforgettable holiday. With iconic resorts like Atlantis, beautiful beaches, and a rich culture on every island, it’s easy to see why this country broke all-time tourism records last year. So, why not give it a go?