Is Jamaica safe for travel: State of Emergency in Montego Bay | Travel News | Travel

1 month ago

Jamaica has declared a State of Emergency after the government reports a number of shooting incidents in St James Parish.

Tourists are warned to stay in their hotels if holidaying in the area, with approximately 200,000 tourists from the UK travelling to the Caribbean island every year.

But is it still safe to travel to Jamaica?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned Britons that a “major military operation” is taking place and that they should stay in their hotels.

The website states: “A State of Emergency has been declared in St James Parish which includes Montego Bay. 

“This will lead to more intensive law enforcement activities in response to recent violence including shooting incidents. 

“You should follow local advice, including restrictions in selected areas. You should limit your movements outside of resorts in the area at this time, and exercise particular care if travelling at night. 

“Travel to and from the airport or for excursions should be undertaken with organised tour operators, and transport should be arranged or provided by the resort hotels.”

However it does not warn against travelling to the region at this current time and instead warns British travellers to be cautious and listen to public announcements.

Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Sean Tipton told the BBC that the incidents are mainly “directed at local people,” and that it hasn’t affected tourists as of yet.

Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness confirmed in a press conference earlier this week that the warnings were to “restore public safety.”

Chief of Defence Major General Rocky Meade confirming that gangs were being targetted in regards to the shootings.

Gang shootings to the area are reported to be on the rice, as Jamaican publication the Gleaner stated there were 335 in St James parish last year.

This year, an increase in killings has increased from 23 to 38, compared to 2017.

International travel expert Nick Harris of Simpson Millar solicitors, said: “UK tourists are now quite rightly concerned about outbreaks of violence and those due to fly out in the coming days are now trying to cancel their trips over safety fears.

“This is a very worrying time for tourists caught up in this war on crime.”