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Guns, Safety & Tourism

August 10th, 2019 | Tags:
Dickson C. Igwe. Photo: VINO/File
By Dickson C. Igwe.

Personal safety is the travellers most critical consideration. Now, 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 promises to send the tourist and traveler to an early grave, he or she should stay away.

OK. This Old Boy was in a Walmart in Miami in August. This was before the El Paso Mass shooting. 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, that feel the same as a $400 pair of Guccis, gives him a triumphant feeling.

However, while in that Walmart he felt unsafe, scared even. All the while he was in the US he was very concerned some ''white guy'' with a grudge would do a Rambo, and despatch him to another world. 

That did not happen. He left the US for safer shores in the Caribbean. This was the first time he was highly aware of the recent mass killings in the USA. But he learned something as a traveller.

A traveller to the USA getting caught up in a mass shooting remains very remote. However, with what appears to be a rife problem of angry men with assault rifles, shown running amok on US TV networks, 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. Not unless the traveller is one of those daredevil types who head for the Himalayas and Everest, with a 1 in 3 chance they may never return.

The Virgin Islands—British—remain 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. That has been changing.

However, the majority of Virgin Islanders are aware that guns will never enhance community safety. 

The idea that these British Virgin Islands are safe because of the absence of legitimate firearms is valid. Just across the channel, the United States Virgin Islands 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 take place in the British Virgin Islands.

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