How Jamaica travel advisory may affect your holiday plans

Aerial view of Montego Bay, Jamaica on May 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel SLIM (Photo credit should read DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty Images). DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty Images

Editors Note: An earlier version of the story said the travel advisory was put in place for Jamaica late last week. The advisory put in place last week was specific to St. James Parish where Montego Bay is located.

A military presence can be found in the popular Jamaican tourist destination Montego Bay. This comes following a state of emergency being declared in St. James Parish due to a high violent crime rate.

The Canadian government has been advising a high degree of caution if travelling to Jamaica, with a specific advisory for St. James Parish having been put in place late last week. However CAA travel consultant Dana Sokoloski said they have not seen much concern at their Regina office.

“As far as travel goes, it hasn’t really affected anything. Most tour lines and airlines are still travelling to Montego Bay, which is probably the biggest destination in the Caribbean,” she said.

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READ MORE: Why Canadians are being warned about visiting parts of Jamaica

A local paper reported that St. James Parish saw 335 murders in 2017. Canadian tourists are being advised to stick to their resort while the advisory and state of emergency are in place. A curfew has also been implemented.

Sokoloski said that if people stick to the resort or tour groups they will likely be fine, but it’s important to keep safety in mind when travelling abroad.

“Keep your wits about you and if something doesn’t feel right find somewhere that’s safe to be,” she said.

Both WestJet and Air Canada have change and cancel policies in effect for flights heading to Montego Bay that were booked before the advisory was put in place.

If you’re looking at changing travel plans, Sokoloski cautions that travel insurance may not apply to Jamaica trips.

“It does apply if your trip is booked and the government does put a ban on travel, or what it’s called is an ‘avoid all unnecessary travel.’ Then the insurance does cover them for that,” she said.

The official warning in place for Jamaica is “exercise a high degree of caution”.

“Generally with an elevated risk, as long as the airlines are still travelling and the hotels are still open then generally insurance would not cover that,” Sokoloski explained.

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With files from Jessica Vomiero

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