Close Menu

Marketing a Crime Prone Destination: Lessons from Montego Bay, Jamaica

Marketing a Crime Prone Destination: Lessons from Montego Bay, Jamaica

Dr. Trevor Smith & Dr. Suzette Haughton
Faculty of Social Sciences
Law, Governance and Society


Jamaica continues to experience high levels of crime and Montego Bay represents one of the main crime hotspots. Given Montego Bay’s crime problems, the marketing of this destination is problematic.


In-depth interviews and desk research were utilisedwith the Hot Spots Theory for elucidating the dichotomous problem of crime versus tourism.

Key Results

The study found that the tourism sector in Montego Bay is insulated from the crime hot spots and as such visitors continue to travel to the destination despite the negative advisories from their countries. In addition, murders in the City are targeted at drug traffickers and money launderers and not the tourist. In response to this problem, marketing of Montego Bay should highlight its distinctive features and safety for the tourist based on the empirical evidence of little or no incidences of crimes against the tourist for more than two decades.

Impact of Research

Linking tourism and crime presents a distinctive contribution to destination marketing. Whereas destination marketing typically addresses the promotion of a destination on its positive attributes, this study juxtaposes the positive with the negative in a combined strategy for marketing the destination.

Top of Page