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Travel agents not too concerned with State Department’s Bahamas travel advisory

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WORCESTER, Mass. – For people planning to go on a vacation this spring, a new travel advisory for the Bahamas may be causing some hesitation.


What You Need To Know

  • The State Department issued a travel advisory for the Bahamas due to violent crime
  • The travel advisory specifically mentions gang-on-gang violence in the Nassau area
  • Its rank at “level two” on the State Department’s one-to-four scale puts the Bahamas in the same company as Germany, Italy, Spain and Brazil
  • Travel agents say these advisories are just part of the planning process to travel somewhere new

This time of year, Zuly Echandia at Worcester’s Carribean Travel Tour is busy helping people work out their vacation logistics. The Bahamas are a popular destination for her clients, and she doesn’t view the State Department’s warning to exercise increased caution due to crime quite squaring up with what she’s been hearing.

“My customers have been going to the Bahamas, they like it,” Echandia said. “They don’t think it’s unsafe, they think it’s safe. You have to be careful, go into the resort, stay inside the resort, don’t go outside, but people say they like going to the Bahamas and think it’s safe in the Bahamas.”

The travel advisory specifically mentions gang-on-gang violence in the Nassau area, adding violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assaults occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

Its rank at “level two” on the State Department’s one-to-four scale puts the Bahamas in the same company as Germany, Italy, Spain and Brazil, among other nations.

The specific threats travelers could face in each of those countries vary, and travel agents say these advisories are just part of the planning process to travel somewhere new.

“I have somebody that’s leaving on Sunday, that vacation was planned months ago,” said Michelle Culross, owner of All Cruise & Travel in Auburn. “This travel advisory pretty much just came out. So, they’re still going and we’re advising them to take precautions, you know, don’t go out by yourselves, don’t go out at night, make sure your wallet’s in your front pocket.”

Culross said she always preps her clients no matter where they’re going, and one of her main messages is for tourists to remember they’re not in a bubble when they travel.

“Any travel agent that’s worth their salt is going to tell you what the do’s and don’ts are of that area,” Culross said. “They’re going to help you. The online stuff isn’t going to help you with that. They’re not going to help you with all the regulations to get in and out of the country. Bottom line is, use a travel agent, any travel agent. But I’m biased on that.”

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