Today there is a report in El Universal newspaper that German cruise line AIDA Cruises announced the suspension of its two next port calls on Margarita Island, Venezuela.
Last week we reported that a 76 year old passenger was shot and killed while ashore on an excursion from the Aida Luna cruise ship.
Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
The newspaper quoted the president of the Nueva Esparta Chamber of Tourism, stating:
"This was expected to happen, because security has a direct effect on tourism; hence we insist on saying that time has come to go from words to action. Not only we need police, but the fact of the matter is creating wellbeing in the region in order to minimize crime; there is the need to combat impunity with all the strength we have."
In many ways, there are other countries in the Caribbean which are exactly in this Venezuelan island’s precarious situation. I was interviewed by the Nassau Guardian last month about the high crime and murder rates in Nassau and the threat presented to cruise passengers. I said that Nassau was "one gunshot away" from losing its cruise ship business. I expect Carnival to up and leave if and when a Carnival passenger is shot.
In Margarita Island, which is in the Caribbean, this turned out to be the case.
The Aida Luna is owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by AIDA Cruises.
I suspect other islands in the Caribbean are holding their breath, afraid that a cruise tourist will become a murder statistic.
Photo (Map) Credit: David Gouaze