Canadian sunseekers in Jamaica are being urged to “exercise a high degree of caution” following a spate of violent crime in the popular winter getaway.
The Canadian government has issued a travel warning in the wake of a military lockdown in St. James Parish, which includes the popular tourist destination Montego Bay.
The government’s safety note urges anyone staying at a resort in the affected area to “restrict your movements” to the property.
Those who venture beyond should use transportation arranged by the resort and only use organized tour operators for excursions and travel.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said escalating criminal activity was endangering public safety, necessitating a state of public emergency and the deployment of military forces.
A married couple from Winnipeg was found dead earlier this month while visiting Jamaica.
“If you are in the affected area, be extremely vigilant, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local news,” says the Canadian travel warning.
Sunwing was quick to reassure customers that its flights, cruise and vacation packages were operating as scheduled.
The travel company also said in a statement that it’s waiving its usual fee to allow customers to change their reservation to an all-inclusive resort if they are currently booked in a noninclusive resort or hotel in St. James Parish. Customers would still be required to pay the applicable price difference.
Sunwing says it sends approximately 5,000 visitors through Montego Bay airport each week, and more than 95 per cent of vacationers choose all-inclusive resorts.
The advice to “exercise a high degree of caution” falls below the Canadian government’s next risk level to avoid all non-essential travel.
There are currently more than 60 countries where the Canadian government warns travellers to “exercise a high degree of caution,” including other Caribbean nations such as the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.