By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
ARAWAK Cay vendors yesterday expressed fears that the US travel advisory will "put a big dent" in business volumes that have become increasingly reliant on tourists.
Vern Pratt, proprietor of Fish N' Chips, told Tribune Business the advisory would likely be another blow to already-struggling businesses at the popular Fish Fry food and cultural hub.
"Fish Fry is already hurting because they are cutting out the music. The tourists are asking for the music and something like this isn't going to make things any better," she said. "If you come out here Saturday and Sunday, everything is dead.
"The Bahamians don't really come out here any more because it's so dead. They're all heading out to Gambier. I feel as though this is a safe area. You can check the police reports on that."
Vincent Bowleg, a manager at Goldie's, told Tribune Business: "It is concerning because tourists make up a big percentage of our business. Locals really only patronise on the weekend, but through the week it's the tourists.
"I don't understand what it's all about because there really isn't anything to be concerned about out here at any time. I think it is something that could put a big dent in our business."
Conch stall vendor, Micherlange Petit-Homme, added: "I heard about that and it's a shock to me. I think that could hurt business. We really need the tourists out here."
Another vendor told Tribune Business: "Business is not great out here right now. We really need the business, and if tourists are told that it's unsafe to come out here then that is really going to hurt us. Locals will still patronise us but we really depend on the tourists."
The US State Department released an updated travel advisory for the Bahamas on Wednesday, telling its citizens to stay clear of the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay at night.
The advisory ranks the Bahamas at 'Level 2: Exercise increase caution,' stating that violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault are common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas.