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Tourism ‘Still Good’ Despite Crime Spike

photo

Obie Wilchcombe

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

 TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday tourism numbers in the Bahamas are “still good” despite a spike in crime in the last few months of 2013.

Speaking with The Tribune, Mr Wilchcombe said while there has been no new advisories from other governments or cruise lines warning tourists about crime in the Bahamas, every Bahamian needs to ensure that 2014 is a good year for the Bahamas.

His comments came after a news story on the Today Show, from three years ago, resurfaced on social media describing the Caribbean as having the highest murder rate in the world, according to a United Nations’ report.

The report, from 2011, also said crime is impeding the development of the Caribbean and rape is at a “disturbing level in the Bahamas.”

Mr Wilchcombe said instead of Bahamians “spreading and sharing” a video that is years old, they need to ask themselves what can they do to stop the scourge of crime in the country.

“Those who are talking or viewing should be saying ‘What can I do to contribute to ending crime?’ and ‘How can I help?’ Bahamians have to understand that police and the government cannot do this alone. Crime is the responsibility of everyone,” he said.

“We must look at ourselves as a nation. It takes all of us to resolve this issue and if we don’t, more negatives about the Bahamas will become viral. My argument is we are responsible. We must all do something.”

Mr Wilchcombe said the Ministry of Tourism has amped up its campaigns to continue to drive more people to the Bahama.

”We are off to a good start this year. Our arrivals are good for Christmas and the New Year. We have our campaigns going on. We are also hosting more vents for travel agencies and tour companies to continue to show the world that the Bahamas is a beautiful place. We are doing what we have to. We are making appearances at various places.

“We will continue to work. We have our issues, but we have security and police officers in hot spots to protect tourists. We have been seeing arrivals of 4,000 to 5,000 on some days and our hotel occupancy levels are good. We have to work together as a nation to continue this trend. But I forecast 2014 as a great robust year for the Bahamas.”

In December, Terry Thornton, senior vice president of itinerary development and revenue planning at Carnival Cruise Lines, said

the entire cruise ship industry remains concerned about the safety of passengers and employees in The Bahamas,

“All cruise lines calling in The Bahamas share the same desire for our guests and crew members to enjoy a safe and exceptional experience when visiting The Bahamas,” Mr Thornton said. “We look forward to continuing to work, as an industry, with the Bahamian government to meet our mutual goals and objectives.

“The entire cruise industry remains concerned about incidences of crime in The Bahamas, including Nassau. As we have advised as an industry, it is extremely important that Bahamian officials continue to work to reduce crime to ensure the safety and well being of all visitors, including the millions of cruise ship passengers and crew members who visit The Bahamas annually.”

Comments

banker 6 years, 5 months ago

Reminds me of the story of the guy who fell off a skyscraper. As he passed every window on his way down, the folks at each window heard him say "So far, so good!".

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BeachBoy 6 years, 5 months ago

The problem isn't with current tourists. It's with the potential visitors who are deciding where to take their family in 2014 or beyond.

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realfreethinker 6 years, 5 months ago

They suffer from head buried in the sand syndrome. may wake up one day. By the way senor minister please stop saying crime is all our problem,I am a law abiding citizen and will not accept that blanket covering.

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

PM Christie must either summon his minister of tourism to straighten him out or outright fire him. Personally, just to caution "Comrade Opedire," that he cannot talk crime every damn time he decides to publicly wag his ministerial tongue is not the role of a tourism minister. In fact no minister or government official, including a BEC Chairman, should be permitted to publicly address crime, unless it has first been cleared through the PM's office. This government has to have one and only one spokesperson on crime. Again, if i can speak personally I don't think the minister of National Security has a damn clue what is going on in Bahamaland. Not a flipp'in clue.

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realfreethinker 6 years, 5 months ago

They suffer from head buried in the sand syndrome. may wake up one day. By the way senor minister please stop saying crime is all our problem,I am a law abiding citizen and will not accept that blanket covering.

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tini2014 6 years, 5 months ago

Its amazing how quickly people look to blame the government when its so easy to turn your head the other way when the crime is either being done or when they know who did it. And people talk about the crime happening in the Bahamas watch the international news. Our crimes are big because this country is small but pales in comparison where many of these tourists come from,

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banker 6 years, 5 months ago

Wrong. Unless you are talking about Syria - a war zone. Toronto Canada has 3 million people in the Greater Toronto Area and they had 54 murders last year. Three million people versus 270,000 in Nassau and we had over 110. We are near the top of the list in the world for violent crime per capita.

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Puzzled 6 years, 5 months ago

No. in 2012 UNDODC list we finished 11th in the world behind the peace loving countries of Honduras and El Salvador! Check this link if you doubt it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_.... Now look further down the list and 67 places below the Bahamas are our cousins in Turks and Caicos! Three murders giving 8.7/100.00. Any variances in these figures are usually due to the country officials not reporting all the incidents. How does 2013 stack up. Looking at the tables, you are wrong we are close to the top and should realise it!

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nassauboy 6 years, 5 months ago

i live in Toronto, and yes Bahamas is very high in the list per capita

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Puzzled 6 years, 5 months ago

Even Syria had a lower rate that we did last year.

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CommonSense 6 years, 5 months ago

You must have your head buried...I won't say where. We have one of the highest crime rates in this region and in this world per capita. Do your research before you spew foolishness in attempts of minimizing this crime issue with that, "it's bad here but worse elsewhere!" mentality. Go and look to see if the country they come from has tourism as its #1 industry.

What are people to do BUT turn their heads the other way when they report crimes and we have no witness protection? When the same persons that are supposed to keep the information confidential let it slip out and you can't sleep at night because the criminals know you spoke up.

Get real.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 5 months ago

@tin2014 the majority of our visitors come from the US where the homocide rate id 4 per 100,000 ,ours is 30 per 100,000

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 5 months ago

@Rory how many affluent people ,our tourist ,decide to vacation in inner city detriot , or liberty city miami ,,,you are still 8 times more likley to be murdered in the Bahamas then the US

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nassauboy 6 years, 5 months ago

LOL, listen. I live in Toronto and have driven through Detroit. There is no way im getting out of the car much less vacation there LOL

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TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

Just that like it was back in 2002 -2007 a Christie administration has s many MP's and Corporation Chairman's shooting their mouths off at "their" will. Gotta give Papa credit he was da master at muscling every single one he Potcakes. Twas as silent in his cabinet like da night before Christmas. Who was his MP's "Papa Santa, you ask?

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CommonSense 6 years, 5 months ago

The MP's in this administration that don't even really know the logistics of this crime situation are the ones that are most vocal! Bernard Nottage has his mouth pinned as usual...probably somewhere sleeping. This government needs to designate someone to handle their Public Relations so that whatever statements are made are done so at the approval of both the PM and BN if he can manage to stay up long enough to read what has been written.

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hj 6 years, 5 months ago

You have to blame poliicians. Crime just did not happen overnight. Anyone remember the Colombian flag flying ? Since then politicians have been unable or unwilling to deal with it. Tourist numbers may still be good but sooner rather than later people will have a rude awakening when cruise lines and airlnes will decide to pull out.Welcome to the new Haiti

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 5 months ago

Truth is our share of stopover visitors to the region has slipped from 10% to 7% while the Dominican republic,Cubas and Jamaicas have all increased ,,,

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately Rory, not many people realize that and time and time again there are reports from well known agencies that list us in amongst other Caribbean countries. I can only surmize that because we compete directly with other Caribbean countries in various markets, tourism, banking, etc, that we are lumped into a lot of comparisions with 'other Caribbean' countries. Does that mean the report is wrong?? Not exactly, just that the guy did not differentiate the fact that the Bahamas, although it borders other Caribbean countries and has similar dynamics, it is actually in the Atlantic and should be lumped in with Bermuda more than the others. Even our own Tourism board play off on the Caribbean comparisons. You don't see them spouting to come visit our beautiful islands in the Atlantic. They always swing more to the Caribbean as they are our competition. To turn around and say the report is full of sh*t isn't completely accurate...they just added us into a comparison with similar countries.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 5 months ago

@Rory Dude we are losing market share to others in the region ,our highest year was 2007 we have not regained that back yet ,while DR ,Cuba and jamaica have gained back pre recession levels and surpassed them ,,WE ARE DOWN 6% IN 2013 FROM OUR OWN LEVELS IN 2012..ITS NOT SO MUCH THE CRIME ITS HIGH PRICES AND BAD SERVICE ,SINCE THE RECESSION TOURIST FOUND BETTER VALUE FOR THEIR MONEY ..i don,t care if you call it carribean or region DR and cuba are whipping our butts

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nassauboy 6 years, 5 months ago

He says while no new advisories by the cruise lines ... LOL

Well what stronger language could the cruise line say when they already suggestion not to get off the boat and if you do stay in this very small zone.

Listen, this guy just wrote an article that is too big, when people send you 1000 pages to read its so you cant digest and understand it easily.

Here is another approach.

Is total tourism visitor up? Is total spending per tourist up?

If the net dollars left in the country is not going up, then its not getting better.

So ask the author to just publish one number over the last 5 years, the total dollars generated from tourism per year .... a simple graph, no talk needed ... if going up then keep doing what you doing, if down then any idiot can make up his own mind that its not getting better.

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tourist1001 6 years, 5 months ago

Are the out islands safe? Like Andros? I want to take my family on vacation to dive. Should I bring a weapon?

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LiangChang 6 years, 5 months ago

Crime is not good. Turism is main resource of money in the Island. Crime = no tourist = unemployed = no money

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