St. Lucia Officials Are Pushing Back Against Travel Advisory Amid Rising Crime

Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, Dr. Ernest Hilaire, has refuted claims that Canada recently issued a negative travel advisory against the country due to rising crime rates. Speaking to reporters on the 20th of February 2024, Dr. Hilaire asserted that Saint Lucia remains at the lowest risk level in Canada’s four-tier travel advisory system for the Caribbean.

Canada’s Longstanding Advisory Still at Lowest Risk Level

According to the Tourism Minister, Canada has long provided routine travel advice about security precautions for Saint Lucia, similar to many other countries. He emphasized that this advice has not changed and continues to place Saint Lucia in the lowest risk category, on par with most Caribbean nations.

The only difference, Dr. Hilaire noted, is that in the latest update to the advisory dated January 29th 2024, Canada warned travelers about an increase in violent crime on the island over the past year, including murders, assaults and robberies. However, the overall advisory still directs Canadians to “take normal security precautions” when visiting Saint Lucia. Dr. Ernest Hilaire adamantly denied reports that Canada released a Saint Lucia-specific warning.

Clarifying Misinformation and Reassuring Travelers

By speaking out, the Tourism Minister aimed to set the record straight about Canada’s advisory and counter misinformation that an actual warning against travel had been issued. His statements were intended to reassure potential visitors that Saint Lucia remains a relatively safe destination.

Dr. Hilaire speculated that false rumors may have originated from opposition groups trying to undermine the vital tourism industry. He described the spread of misinformation as “malicious, destructive and deliberate.”

Advice Focuses on Safety Precautions for Visitors

According to the travel advisory on the Government of Canada’s website, Saint Lucia shares the lowest risk level with over a dozen other Caribbean destinations. The guidance for citizens focuses on suggested safety precautions while visiting the island.

These tips include remaining vigilant in public spaces, avoiding isolated areas, securing valuables, using caution with credit cards and ATMs, taking care in coastal waters, and more. Special warnings are given regarding the potential for crime, harassment of women and LGBTQ+ travelers, road safety issues, and unreliable public transit.

By following sensible security protocols, Canadian tourists can still safely enjoy what Saint Lucia has to offer, from its world-class resorts to its exotic rainforests, volcanic peaks, and dazzling beaches. While staying alert to their surroundings, visitors can soak up the island’s vibrant culture, sample Creole-infused cuisine and partake in thrilling adventure excursions.

The Government of Saint Lucia remains committed to the safety of all visitors as an integral foundation of its tourism industry. Officials continue monitoring and addressing security concerns in collaboration with international partners. As Minister Hilaire concluded, “There has never been a travel advisory against Saint Lucia…the Canadian government (continues viewing) the Caribbean as a whole as a safe area.”