Islanders keep close eye on Jamaica situation
'We don't have a problem losing our deposit if it matters in regard to our safety'
Islanders booked to travel to Montego Bay are watching the situation closely after the Jamaican government declared a state of emergency due to a spike in thefts and murders in the area.
The Canadian government is advising travellers not to leave their resort when travelling in the St. James Parish area of Jamaica.
It's probably more safe now than it probably has been in the last little while.—Tracey Wood
Tracey Wood of Charlottetown, her husband and their 19-year-old daughter are booked to go with another Island family of five in April — a trip they booked last August with Sunwing.
Wood said Sunwing appeased her worry and reassured her there were no problems for Canadians at the resort.
Sunwing told Wood they could cancel their booking, but it would mean losing a $750 deposit. Wood said that's something the family is willing to do if they determine it's unsafe.
'We don't have a problem losing our deposit if it matters in regard to our safety," she said.
In an email to CBC News, Sunwing said it is in contact with its destination team and has been told that while tourists are being encouraged to exercise a degree of caution, all tours and excursions are operating normally.
"Jamaica is consistently one of our most popular destinations and we send approximately 5,000 visitors through Montego Bay airport each week without related incident," Sunwing said.
Security has been increased at the airport, Sunwing told Wood, adding "their resorts were not really located anywhere close to where some of the central crime seemed to be."
Sunwing is allowing people who are not staying at resorts in St. James Parish to make other arrangements with no penalties, but the company said 95 per cent of its clients stay at resorts.
Wood would have preferred to have been given the choice to book a vacation to another Sunwing destination, but the company did not offer that option.
"It's probably more safe now than it probably has been in the last little while," with the extra security measures, Wood said. The family may choose to go but not go on excursions off the resort, Wood said.
Sunwing is monitoring the situation and will adjust its policies if required, it said.
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With files from Laura Chapin