The Caribbean is Open for Business: Tourism Helps Recovery and Survival4 min read
While Hurricanes Irma and Maria have taken a huge toll on parts of the Caribbean, there are still many resorts and islands that are open and ready for business.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on November 30th, and the fall weather throughout many of the islands is back to normal. Now is as great a time as any to pay a visit to any of these islands, especially since the tourism industry throughout the islands is playing a huge role in the hurricane relief efforts. The Caribbean Tourism Organization is one group supplying relief funds to the more seriously affected islands. Booking a trip to the Caribbean this fall or winter is a great way to send the signal that you believe in the islands and their people, and that through your vacation you are supporting the recovery of your favorite tropical paradise.
3 Pre-Travel Tips to Keep in Mind
Before you head out the door for your trip to the Caribbean, keep these three tips in mind:
- Call the Hotel First: The front desk at the hotel can give you an honest assessment of the hotel, the surrounding property, and nearby attractions. They’ll tell you if there has been any damage that will impact your stay or your ability to travel around the island.
- Ask What to Bring: On some islands, certain products may be in short supply. These supplies can range from the things you’ll need for your personal comfort, as well as supplies the staff may need in the kitchen or around the hotel. If you bring an extra suitcase, they may be willing to reimburse you for what you bring.
- Keep Your Travel Insurance Current: Many islands are in good shape and have made, or soon will make, a full recovery. However, it’s always smart to have travel insurance for your trip, which can help in the case of a medical emergency or a natural disaster (like a hurricane).
Island Damage Varies by Location
While many islands emerged from the hurricanes with minimal damage, others were devastated. The islands that suffered the most severe damage include Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Barbuda, St. John and St. Thomas, and Cuba. If you have a trip to one of these islands scheduled in the near future, check with your hotel or travel agent about your next steps.
Much of the problem for the Caribbean now is public perception of the reality on the ground. Keep in mind that the Caribbean is a huge area, so some islands were not affected at all by the hurricanes. If you have a trip planned to any of the following islands, your travel plans should be unaffected. Still, it’s a good idea to keep the three tips above in mind before leaving.
This Southern Caribbean island was essentially beyond the reach both hurricanes. You’ll still find world-class snorkeling, diving and other water activities along the white sand beaches. The Aruba Tourism Authority also boasts about the diversity of the island. With more than 90 different nationalities calling Aruba home, the reflection of this exceptional diversity is seen through the cuisine throughout the island.
Like Aruba, Jamaica was spared damage from the hurricanes and its resorts are open for business. When it comes to choosing a spot in the Caribbean, Jamaica has plenty to offer. Miles of untouched coastline, beautiful landscapes and a rich reggae music culture make Jamaica a standout location where you can find something for everyone.
Saint Lucia was another island not touched by the hurricanes. St. Lucia is surrounded by majestic mountains and beautiful beaches, allowing all who visit to indulge in the breathtaking views. Finding something to do in St. Lucia is not hard when there is so much to offer—the turquoise waters are great for fishing, kayaking and snorkeling, and the island terrain reaches up into the lush rainforests for those who seek more adventure.
The Bahamas, a nation of 700 different islands, was not entirely spared from the hurricane. Much of the damage the islands received, however, fell on islands that are not frequented by tourists, like Ragged Island. The best tourist spots in the Bahamas were left almost entirely untouched by the storms.
Grand Cayman Island
The Cayman Islands were spared during the hurricanes and have been welcoming tourists since late September. The Ministry of Tourism in the Cayman Islands is encouraging travelers to experience their world-class beaches, dining, accommodations and all the Cayman hospitality the islands have to offer in the coming months.
Grenada is considered by many to be the newest Caribbean hotspot, so to hear that the island encountered no damage at all from the hurricanes is wonderful. This island is the perfect example of having something for everyone. Whether you are looking for adventures, beautiful beaches or the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, the petite and picturesque island of Grenada has got what you need for a perfect vacation.