“That is significant to us because we are a tourist destination,” Minnis told reporters on his return to The Bahamas last month after attending a two-hour meeting with Trump.
Minnis was joined by the leaders of Jamaica, Haiti, St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic, who met with the U.S. president at his private residence in South Florida on Mar. 22.
Earlier in March Nassau, responding to a U.S. travel advisory on the country, said the “vast majority” of the six million visitors to the country do so without “any incident whatsoever”. In a statement, the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation explained that while it noted that overall the guidance to U.S. citizens remained a Level Two advisory recommending caution, “we recommend that travelers to any destination maintain awareness of their surroundings and exercise basic precautions, as they likely would in their home cities and when not on holiday.
“In reality, the vast majority of our six million annual visitors do so without any incident whatsoever,” the Ministry of Tourism noted, quoting 2018 figures provided by the Royal Bahamas Police that showed there were “only 43 incidents involving tourists, of which 30 involved U.S. nationals and nearly all were minor offenses.
Minnis told reporters that a travel advisory would likely create unnecessary fear that could damage the local economy.
“Eighty percent of our GDP (gross domestic product) comes from tourism,” he said. “We’re doing very well in tourism at this particular time. And the travel advisory which we interpret (should be) one to inform one’s citizens to be aware of problems as opposed to initiate fear.
“So, we brought that point across and the president was very concerned as to how that’s impacting us. And I would have explained that. And I also pointed out that out when one looks at the amount of criminal attacks or involvement of the American tourists versus our population (it’s) very negligible. That is, we’re talking about 0.004 percent of Americans … which is negligible,” Minnis said, adding that some of the information contained in the advisory had been inaccurate.
He said it appears that “the travel advisories are being recycled (and) that some of the information that is on the travel advisory is not pertinent today, because buildings or restaurants that they may have referred to no longer exist. Those buildings may have been destroyed two, three years ago.”