Kingston on do not visit advisory
Jamaica, which is a leading Caribbean Island destination with about 4 million travellers is on the latest US travel advisory list.
Yesterday, Jamaica, a member of the British Commonwealth was issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory by the U.S. Department of State, which included numerous Do Not Travel notices for sections of the island, including the capital city of Kingston, which is home to over 1.2 million people.
In fact, Jamaica has recently been the focus of high-level travel advisories by the U.S. and U.K. governments. Over 225,000 British nationals visited Jamaica annually before the recent pandemic.
Violence occurs regularly in many neighbourhoods, communities, and parishes in Jamaica, says the State Department, which notes that U.S. government personnel are prohibited from travelling to many areas of Jamaica. The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
15 areas deemed off-limits
On April 6, 2023, the U.S. Embassy in Kingston announced that after a recommendation from the Government of Jamaica, it placed an additional 15 areas on a list of off-limit neighbourhoods, parishes, and communities for U.S. government employees. These 15 areas are in addition to 29 areas previously made off-limits to Embassy personnel.
For all areas of Jamaica not listed, the State Department advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Jamaica. The State Department reports that “local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities. Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards.”
If you visit Jamaica, the Embassy suggests enrolling in the Smart Traveler Program to receive alerts during an emergency. Separately, the U.K’s Foreign travel advice says there are high levels of civil unrest, particularly in Kingston.
From a health perspective, the U.S. and the U.K. recommend various routine and travel vaccinations before visiting Jamaica in May 2023.