Categorized | National News

Minister: US Advisory Unfair

In the wake of a travel advisory issued by the U.S. Embassy cautioning citizens to be wary when visiting The Bahamas, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said that he doesn’t feel that the perception of The Bahamas being a dangerous country is fair.

 He added that the impact of advisories especially concerning tourism-based countries tend to bring about more harm than good.

 “The perception is not fair at all. We know it’s not fair but that doesn’t matter because the average person who hasn’t been here is going to take information that he may see online or on the news channels.

“He is not concerned about that. He is concerned about travelling to a place that he knows he has comfort and the dream Bahamas vacation where you can walk with your feet in the sand.

 “So the perception these advisories leave are not always good and the best way to deal with them is to stay away from them. That’s why so many countries in the Caribbean and the world in fact are very concerned when advisories are given particularly by the United States, which is a very powerful country. Seventy per cent of our business alone comes from America so we know the impact it could have,” Mr. Wilchombe said.

 Minister Wilchombe added that it is up to Bahamians to change this negative stigma that is currently attached to The Bahamas and revert to the generous and hospitable attitude that the country is world renowned for.

 “All advisories have an effect, because the travelling public always does an assessment on places they intend to travel.

 “What we have to do as a country is recognize that and appreciate that we have a collective responsibility to get our country out of the perception that it now finds itself.

 “We’re not a country of criminality. We’re a country of decency, hospitality, in all the meetings that I have attended recently (UNWTO) countries have expressed their concerns when advisories are issued because advisories cause a tremendous amount of damage and cause major effects to economies.

 “We as Bahamians have to work hard and do all we can to ensure that we remove ourselves from that definition. We don’t want to be considered a country of crime,” Mr. Wilchombe said.

 He also responded to the protests that took place in Cable Beach yesterday concerning the unfair working conditions and labour wages for workers at the Sandals Resort and the effects of similar demonstrations on the tourism sector.

 “It happens in all countries. I think what visitors will take from our country is that we are a democratic country and that we do stand up for the things we believe in.

 “Once they’re not affected or in the middle of it and could possibly be hurt, they accept that Bahamians will stand up for their rights.

 “The best way to deal with these matters (Sandals Dispute) is to resolve them before they get to that point and I believe that the issues that are outstanding are resolvable,” Mr. Wilchombe said.

 The Bahamas’ advisory that was issued this past weekend was picked up by the majority of major American media outlets.





Written by Jones Bahamas

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