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Crime and Tourism

Sands: Crime must be stomped out before it affects tourism 

 Chester Robards , October 11, 2022

President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Robert “Sandy” Sands insisted in a statement released Friday that the increase in crime has to be abated before it negatively affects the country’s bread and butter, tourism.

Sands said while the BHTA recognizes that crime is a global problem, countries like The Bahamas that are heavily reliant on tourism are even more susceptible to the fallout that comes from a spike in crime.

“Not only can it deter visitors from choosing to visit The Bahamas; when crime hits it hurts our people as a whole,” said Sands.

“The impact of crime left unabated is an absolute threat to our nation’s tourism product and to society.

“We must work assiduously and immediately to stamp out the glowing embers that are threatening to ‘run hot’ in our country. We must enhance efforts to combat crime collectively.

“We in the tourism industry have a saying ‘Tourism is Everybody’s Business’… so is crime! I cannot emphasize that enough. We must unite in the fight against crime.”

The Bahamas Travel Advisory on the travel.state.gov site has the country set to a level two, asking visitors to “exercise increased caution”.

The advisory adds: “The majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands.

“In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the ‘Over the Hill’ area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population.

“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

“Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.”

The country has logged about 107 murder for the year thus far. 

Sands said in his statement that crime at any level is “as insidious as it is dangerous”.

“How can we be the best version of ourselves at work when we just lost someone we love because of crime?” he asked.

“How can we be as productive as possible if we feel we have to leave work early to get home before dark because we are worried about our own personal safety?

“How can we concentrate fully if we are concerned about our children at school, or our elderly parent at home alone?

“We have seen what rampant crime can do to countries who have had to deploy extreme, highly visible public safety measures to cauterize criminal activity.”

Sands said the BHTA will continue to work with government, law enforcement, tourism stakeholders, industry partners, and civil society, on strategies to address crime in the country.