Personal safety is the traveller’s most critical consideration. No family wants to go on vacation only to return in caskets.

A country may offer spectacular panoramas, hugely significant historical sites, rich cultural narratives, awesome geography, and great resorts and hotels, but if a car bomb or mass shooting threatens to send the tourist to an early grave, he or she should stay away.

Before the El Paso mass shooting, this writer was recently in a Walmart in Miami. He is not a “designer label” shopper. When he steps into a store, it is to bargain hunt. Placing shoes on his feet that cost $40 but feel the same as a $400 pair of Guccis gives him a triumphant feeling.

However, while in that Walmart he felt unsafe. Scared even. While he was in the United States, he was very concerned that some “white guy” with a grudge would do a Rambo and dispatch him to another world.

That did not happen. He left the US for safer shores in the Caribbean.


Lesson learned

This was the first time he was keenly aware of the recent mass killings in the US. But he learned something as a traveller.

A traveller to the US getting caught up in a mass shooting remains a very remote chance. However, with what appears to be a rife problem of angry men with assault rifles, shown running amok on the televisions that are ubiquitous in American hotel rooms, the problem appears to be very real.

And there is evidence that mass shootings are affecting US tourism, with a decline in travellers to the US since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.

Safety is the most critical factor for the discerning traveller — unless the traveller is one of those daredevil types who head for the Himalayas and Everest with a one in three chance they may never return.


In the VI

The Virgin Islands remains a very safe travel destination. This is due almost entirely to the fact that this is a jurisdiction that does not allows guns, and drives a culture that is averse to gun violence. But that has been changing.

However, the majority of VI residents are aware that guns will never enhance community safety.

The idea that this territory is safe because of the absence of legitimate firearms is valid. Just across the channel, the USVI shares a similar history and culture and people with the same cultural DNA.

However, there are on average 40 gun deaths in the USVI annually. This is exponentially higher than the one or two gun deaths that typically take place in this territory.


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