Nearly five months ago, the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas ravaged the shores of this island nation. The category 5 hurricane left death and destruction in its wake, devastating Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands. While the storm has left scars, it hasn’t destroyed the spirit of Bahamians. The country continues to rebuild homes, reopen businesses and restore the natural splendor of its coastlines. As 2020 rolls on, don’t shy away from booking programs in the Bahamas. This island nation wants the world to know that the Bahamas are open for business!
Planner Pulse on Disaster Tourism – How to you feel about these opportunities?
Of the 700-island archipelago, only two, Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands, were directly hit. The others were left virtually unscathed including New Providence Island, whose capital is Nassau, and nearby Paradise Island. In fact, the vast majority of the country’s resorts, restaurants, and cruise terminals were operating as normal immediately following the storm. Tourism is big business in the Bahamas providing 60% of the country’s GDP and employing nearly half of its workforce. A large portion of the travel and tourism segment of the economy is fueled through the MICE market. Convention and meetings spend directly impact the rebuilding effort in a big way.
The Abacos and Grand Bahama Island are surging back. In December, Silver Airways resumed service to Freeport, Grand Bahama and Marsh Harbour, Abaco offering daily flights to Fort Lauderdale as did Bahamasair. On Grand Bahama, 84% of hotels and restaurants are open as are 100% of its cruise operations. Most of its beaches are open too and its adorable pigs are still swimming along its shores. The Abacos are restoring its way of life as well with the reopening of hotels, beach resorts and fishing lodges. Hardest hit, the recovery here will take longer. Again, “helping through visiting” is working.
Echoing this sentiment, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has said, “One of the best ways that people around the world can show their support and solidarity… is to visit our islands by air or by cruise ship.”
If you’d like to learn more about the relief efforts currently underway or to make a donation, click here.