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Jamaica holidays to be affected by civil unrest

  • 26-May-10 12:23
  • Jamaica
  • Breaking Travel News

Jamaica holidays are starting to suffer the damaging effects of the civil unrest that's causing commotion in the streets of the country's capital city. As a result of the violence, many travellers have begun cancelling their trips to the Caribbean island.

Jamaica holidays to be affected by civil unrest

Soon Jamaica holidays could be branding the "danger" label in the eyes of potential visitors to the country as street violence in the island over the planned extradition of a gang leader to the U.S. could deter tourists as well as harm the economic recovery, the head of Jamaica’s Chamber of Commerce has warned.

Milton Samuda, president of Jamaica’s Chamber of Commerce, explained how the situation in the capital Kingston remains “tense” after Prime Minister Bruce Golding declared a one-month state of emergency yesterday in response to the fierce violence.

Talking about the negative impact such a situation would have on the Jamaica holidays market Samuda told Bloomberg. - “I think the obvious first implication is for tourism. This obviously doesn’t help the business climate and it could affect potential investors.”

As a result of the unrest, Air Jamaica has already been forced to cancel 3 flights between Jamaica and the U.S. “to protect our customers and staff who would arrive at night,” but flights were resumed again this morning inorder to cause as little disturbance as possible to those on Jamaica holidays..

Two police officers were killed yesterday after supporters of Christopher “Dudus” Coke set up roadblocks in the capital to prevent his arrest. Police and soldiers came under heavy fire again today, according to The Associated Press. Coke is accused by the U.S. government of leading an international crime syndicate known as the “Shower Posse”.

The U.S. State Department has issued a notice for travellers flying to Jamaica holidays warning them that civil unrest in Kingston could block access to the international airport.

Jamaica’s tourism industry has been riding the quest of a wave. While this year’s bookings have been strong, the year-to-date hotel occupancy to the end of April has been marking an increase of 71 %, up from 67 % year-on-year, according to Smith Travel Research Inc.

Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) President Wayne Cummings warned that with the international attention that Jamaica holidays have been receiving, the recent events would inevitably hit the number of tourist arrivals as he informed that several travellers who were scheduled to arrive have not turned up while others have begun cancelling their trip.

Some Jamaica hotels are still running high occupancies while others are doing relatively well but the JHTA President is unable to quantify the level of cancellations so far or how many more are likely to be made during this period of internal conflict.

Cummings emphasised that the situation being as it is, the country should allow the security forces to do their jobs without loss of innocent lives. He added that the JHTA and Jamaica Tourist Board have been liaising with the travel industry to keep them abreast of the situation in Jamaica. He continued to assure the industry that Jamaica holidays remain open for business and there is no immediate threat to visitors.

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