Addressing crime will boost tourism, says hotelier

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Antigua and Barbuda is being encouraged to learn from its regional counterparts that continue to make strides in the tourism sector, despite the issue of crime.
President of the Antigua Hotels Association, Alex DeBrito told OBSERVER media yesterday that countries like Jamaica continue to attract droves of visitors to its shores despite high crime rates.
 “Even with curfews in Montego Bay, [Jamaica], the situation seems to be well controlled in the sense of information. But, I think the most important thing is to prevent those crimes from happening, it would be much easier and most effective. Crime is not just something that affects our visitors, it affects everyone that lives here,” he said.
DeBrito admits that crime continues to affect tourist hotspots in the Caribbean like Jamaica and Mexico. He, however, added that the affected countries have used the media to its advantage.
“Some of our sister islands are doing quite well in keeping the media not very vocal and sending the news all over the world. But, so far, Antigua is one of the safer islands in the world for the Caribbean, I wish we could stay like that,” he added.
The veteran hotelier said that preventing and minimising all crimes against visitors and locals should be prioritised.
He opined that the islands should be safe for all to dwell in tranquility, free from fear for their personal safety.
He lamented that many properties struggle with low hotel occupancy despite having attractive packages and beautiful accommodation.
“When you have crime in a nation and tourist travel in this nation they tend to stay in the hotel. They do not go out the hotel, meet the people and spend money in restaurants which I think is very important for the economy of a country. Instead, some of the guests stay in one hotel and do not go out,” he added.

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