Is Jamaica safe? Latest travel advice as US government raises alert and warns holidaymakers after spate of murders

The US government has urged holidaymakers not to travel to Jamaica and "exercise increased caution" after a spate of murders
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The US government has warned against travelling to Jamaica after a spate of murders in the Caribbean nation. The State Department announced it has raised its travel alert to Level 3 for Jamaica urging Americans to “exercise increased caution” and reconsider visiting the island "due to crime and [unreliable] medical services." 

The US Embassy in Jamaica warned that "violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts".

It added that Jamaican police "often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents". The advisory said that hospitals and ambulances are not always reliable and some private institutions may require payment up front.

The U.S government has urged holidaymakers not to travel to Jamaica and "exercise increased caution" after a spate of murders. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)The U.S government has urged holidaymakers not to travel to Jamaica and "exercise increased caution" after a spate of murders. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
The U.S government has urged holidaymakers not to travel to Jamaica and "exercise increased caution" after a spate of murders. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

The State Department added: "The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere”. According to statistics published by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the nation had recorded 65 homicides between January 1 and 27 this year. The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper reported that January’s murder tally of 65 included 19 murders during one week alone.

Tourism is a huge sector for Jamaica's economy, and Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told the country's lawmakers in December that he expected a "spectacular growth pattern" seen during 2022 and 2023 to continue.

He said, according to a statement on his ministry's website: "The island should record a total of 4,122,100 visitors for the period January to December, 2023. This would signal an increase of 23.7% over the total number of visitors recorded in 2022." According to the ministry, tourism brought roughly $4.2 billion into Jamaica's economy in 2023.

The warning comes just a few days after the US government issued a warning about the Bahamas, which remained at a Level 2 advisory, as many Americans are planning and booking their vacations for the year ahead.

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