At least three cruise ship companies, including Royal Caribbean and Disney, have cancelled excursions to certain parts of Nassau following a series of armed attacks on tourists that has raised safety concerns about the Bahamas.
Also among those pulling the destination is Carnival Cruises. Company spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz says the decision to suspend trips to Earth Village was only temporary. She said that the company is offering other trips as an alternative.
Several Europeans were among a group of 18 tourists held up by two men armed with shotguns during a guided tour of an eco-park at the weekend. Their local guide was tied up and a woman hit in the face with the butt of a gun as the robbers took money, passports and cameras from the passengers.
The attack mirrors an incident last month when 11 cruise passengers were also robbed at gunpoint whilst visiting one of the city’s landmark attractions, the Queen’s Staircase.
Last month, in another daylight incident, 11 cruise passengers were robbed at gunpoint as they stood at the top of the Queen’s Staircase, the city’s landmark attraction.
Police authorities in Nassau have reported a sharp rise in muggings in the city, including a recent attack on a Canadian tourist as he walked along Bay Street, close to the cruise line terminals.
Nassua was once until recently considered a very destination, boasting one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean.
But the sudden increase in armed robberies threatens to undermine an industry that brings the island over US$2.2bn in annual tourism revenues.
Nassau is one of the most popular stopovers on cruises from Florida, with more than two million passengers visiting last year.
“A holiday is supposed to be filled with fun, rejuvenation and relaxation. An act of crime should not be part of any vacation, and we regret that our guests had to experience those events,” said Lyan Sierra-Caro, a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman. “We are thankful that none of our guests was injured.”
Tourism and police chiefs have pledged to deploy more uniformed officers at tourist sites, as well as taking a hard line on those responsible for the attacks.
“It is difficult to promote the islands as a place for people to consider for their holiday when these kinds of incidents occur,” Vernice Walkine, minister for tourism is quoted in The Telegraph.
“We are deeply concerned about a troubling series of events involving rogue elements of our society. We want to assure our cruise line partners that we will work closely with the police until they have rooted out these problems and restored these places and activities as safe for the enjoyment of our visitors.”