Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the latest U.S. State Department travel advisory could hurt his country's reconstruction efforts and undermine its attempts to build a tourism industry.

The Dec. 28 advisory warned Americans planning to travel to Haiti about violent crime, infectious diseases and poor medical facilities.

"Haiti is one of the safest destinations, not only in the Caribbean but in all of Latin America," Lamothe said.

Violent crime declined in Haiti in recent months and its homicide rates were lower in 2011 than the rates in neighboring Dominican Republic and in Jamaica, according to the prime minister.

The advisory, which replaced a less strongly worded advisory issued in June 2012, was not meant to discourage visitors and was part of a series of periodic updates, according to a U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Haiti.

A statement issued by the U.S. Embassy following the State Department advisory noted that Haiti's crime rates had fallen and that the Haitian government was serious about addressing the issue.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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