Tourism safety in Jamaica: Behind the current headlines of rape and cover up

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Jamaica recently emerged as one of the most progressive destinations in the world when it comes to travel tourism safety and security.

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Jamaica recently emerged as one of the most progressive destinations in the world when it comes to travel tourism safety and security.

This is despite Jamaica owned Sandals Resort making headlines in the United States today for covering up sexual assaults on tourists on their property. Male prostitutes offering their services to white women (“rent-a-dreads”) is a problem relatively unique to Jamaica, and the demand by some female tourists for such services can spill over in negative ways on other visiting women, who may be viewed as “easy” by some local men.

For millions of Americans, the Caribbean is a dream vacation destination. Sky blue waters, white-sand beaches, and a laid-back tropical vibe make for the ideal getaway. But a less-pleasant reality sometimes lurks behind the picture-perfect image. Even though the chance winning the lottery may be higher than being a victim in a crime while on vacation in the Caribbean, incidents of a rape case in Jamaica makes good headlines.

Jamaica is not alone in the world in also having a dark side of tourism, but it’s one of the few destinations recently making it a top priority to understand and correct problems. The country is ready to implement measures necessary to make this Caribbean destination completely safe for tourists, but keeping up the fun and cultural uniqueness Jamaica is known for.

In opening a global tourism resilient center in Jamaica, the island nation is actually becoming the global center for tourism safety. The man behind it is Jamaica’s tourism minister Ed Bartlett.

The Jamaica based Tourism Crisis Management Centre is becoming the most significant global institution in the world, in relation to resilience and crisis management issues, as it has received support from a large number of states and major tourism entities across the world.

Bartlett  invited Dr. Peter Tarlow to Jamaica. Tarlow is an internationally known and recognized travel and tourism safety and security expert. He will conduct an audit and discuss solutions with safety professionals inb Jamaica.

Jamaica is not alone when it comes to security and safety challenges at travel destinations.

In  Waikiki (Hawaii) the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel was accused of covering up a man on man rape in 2014. The victim told eTN recently that after 4 years Federal Authorities are getting involved. The victim had accused Honolulu of covering up the incident. The victim alleged the police was pressured by the Hawaii Tourism Authority to avoid negative publicity.

Violent crime can be an issue in tourist areas of the Bahamas, warns the U.S. State Department. Jet-ski operators have sexually assaulted tourists, and visitors should avoid the “over the hill” area in Nassau after dark.

There have been incidents of rape on urban buses (micros) on routes in the south of Mexico City.

In June an American tourist was brutally attacked near Trafalgar Square in London.

Three men have been arrested and are in custody following an alleged gang rape in a park near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

In New York Police is looking for a suspect who raped an Australian tourist in a usually safe Midtown neighborhood.

A Miami Beach man is facing charges after police say he kidnapped, beat and raped a tourist who was walking back to her hotel.

Crime and terrorism are concerns in Trinidad and Tobago, where the U.S. State Department says U.S. citizens should stay extra alert to stay safe. Visitors should avoid Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.

A Russian tourist was attacked at knifepoint in her idyllic oceanfront villa at the new, $115 million Six Senses Zil Pasyon on Félicité, a small island filled with big black granite boulders and acres of desolate forest, 35 miles in rough seas from Mahé in Seychelles.

Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan pops up on the list of most violent cities in the world, with a murder rate of 48.7 per 100,000. (Though high, that murder rate is still lower than that of mainland U.S. cities Detroit and St. Louis.) Most areas that tourists visit are safe, however.

A British woman was repeatedly raped at gunpoint during a savage 14-hour ordeal after she and her boyfriend were kidnapped in South Africa.

A young Australian woman visiting Europe has been raped on a beach in the Croatian seaside town of Makarska.

On Bali an Australian woman on holiday has reported being viciously attacked and raped in a Kuta alleyway as she walked to her hotel in the early hours of this morning.

Of the 50 cities on the list of the most violent cities in the world, 42 are in Latin America, including 17 in Brazil, 12 in Mexico, and five in Venezuela. Colombia had three, Honduras had two, and El Salvador, Guatemala had one. The list did not include any cities in Europe.

The most deadly city in the world is Los Cabos, Mexico. It had 111.33 homicides per 100,000 residents, but according to latest feedback, Los Cabo San Lucas is considered safe for tourists.

In Fiji two men were convicted for a rape on a tourist.

It appears sometimes allegations by tourists remain to be allegations. A British teenager who claimed she was raped on a Thai island faces being banned from the country over her “false” allegation. Police on Koh Tao has now said the evidence they have gathered does not support her version of events. They also said some tourists make up stories to claim on their insurance and added the island only wants “quality tourists”.

Millions of tourists visit Jamaica each year without incident, but many also stay at all-inclusive resorts for the duration of their trip due to safety concerns. The truth, however, is that travelers can have a great experience getting out and seeing the “real” Jamaica, but need to be mindful of the legitimate threat of crime where it exists.

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