Jamaica’s Authorities Say Most Recent U.S. Travel Advisory Is “Inaccurate”

The Jamaican government is requesting that the State Department revoke the update it made to its most recent 2024 travel advisory for the Caribbean country (Level 3: Reconsider Travel). They say the advisory’s representation of increased crime and inadequate healthcare is “inaccurate.”

The advisory suggested that violent crimes are common on the island and that sexual assaults in all-inclusive resorts occur frequently. It did not, however, provide any precise information about these assertions.

Jamaica’s ambassador to the US, Audrey Marks, used Facebook to voice the country’s vehement opposition to the revised travel advisory, claiming that it, “disagrees strongly with the contents of the revised travel advisory, as it distorts the reality and facts in Jamaica.” 

Marks also included a link to a fact sheet that provided refutations of the advisory’s assertions and that was sourced from Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade.

The U.S. Embassy in Kingston commented on the situation on Facebook, explaining that “the level of our travel advisory did not change with this update and has remained at level 3, the same level it has been since March 2022.”

According to the ambassador, the American administration employed exaggerated language that regrettably created the appearance of a significant violent crisis on the island.

As per Marks, the administration’s top priority is reducing crime, and in 2023, Jamaica saw its lowest crime rate in over 22 years. She added that illegal drug and gun trafficking between the U.S. and Latin America accounts for 80% of serious crimes in Jamaica, with the U.S. providing more than 90% of the illicit firearms in the country.

Jamaica Topped Record Visitor Arrivals in 2023 Despite Bad Reputation

In 2023, Jamaica surpassed expectations in tourism despite its challenging reputation, recording a landmark year with approximately 4.1 million visitors, marking a 16% increase over the previous year and surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 7.5%.

This growth, highlighted by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, and the Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board, Donovan White, underscores the island’s appeal as a premier global destination, particularly among U.S. travelers who constitute over half of the arrivals. The sustained expansion into an 11th consecutive quarter of growth is anticipated, fueled by a high rate of repeat visitors and the introduction of new airlift options from the U.S.

Additionally, Jamaica’s tourism sector looks forward to further growth with the opening of new hotels, enhancing its capacity by thousands of rooms, and the hosting of major events that draw international attention.

This trend signifies Jamaica’s commitment to sustainable tourism growth and resilience, showcasing its ability to thrive as a top choice for travelers worldwide despite any reputational challenges.