Different nations have various means to make money and their geography often has a lot to do with this. If you live in flat lands that are perfect for farming, then it makes perfect sense to harness agriculture and teach the people to till and plant various crops instead. If you live in a coastal area, fishing is the ideal means of livelihood. But there are other parts of the world that are more beautiful than most places and is sought after by tourists every year. The Caribbean is one of those places that many consider as a paradise for many reasons and it is not hard to see why once you see pictures of its pristine beaches and crystal blue waters.
Unfortunately, it is also in the way of natural calamities like Hurricane Irma, this time around. We all know how devastated Texas became after it has hit by Hurricane Harvey with a force that nobody was prepared for. And days after its onslaught, a new hurricane in the form of Irma threatened US shores but without first passing the beautiful Caribbean islands and unleashing its fury there. Unlike America, the Caribbean does not have that much money in public funds making rehabilitation a major issue. How will they be able to recover and attract tourists to come if they won’t be able to rebuild whatever has been destroyed in the face of Mother Nature’s wrath especially for a tourist hotspot like them?
The white sand beaches of the Caribbean that lure tourists from across the globe and fuel local economies were devastated in the wake of Hurricane Irma, with some tourism officials predicting loses in the billions of dollars. In St. Thomas, four people died. In Barbuda, damages were estimated to reach $100 million after about 95 percent of the island’s buildings were destroyed.
The timing couldn’t be worse, with hotels, airlines, cruises and attractions generally counting on the fall and winter months to fuel annual revenue as armies of tourists flee their cold and blustery hometowns in northern hemispheres. And there could be more destruction soon, with Hurricane Jose, another powerful Category 4 storm, expected to whack the islands later this week.
“Any disruption in the tourism industry is a disruption of our livelihood,” Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) spokesman Hugh Riley told Reuters.
The storm hit at an especially bad time when the Caribbean is expecting an influx of guests in the coming months from those who want to escape the cold snowy months and frolic in the sand and beach instead. We are talking of billions of dollars of loss here, dead people and broken down properties. Tourism isn’t just possible at the moment and the worst is even expected because of an incoming hurricane that is said to hit the Caribbean just like Hurricane Irma did in the coming days.
A Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund has been set up to aid destinations devastated by Hurricane Irma.
Priority will be given to assisting areas most severely impacted, including Anguilla, the southern Bahamas, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St Barts, St Maarten-St Martin, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association is partnering with non-profit group Tourism Cares to assist with the recovery.
The fund has been created to help unite the industry and pool its resources aimed at dedicating support to help those areas most affected to rebound as quickly as possible.
In a place like the Caribbean that mainly relies on tourism to make a living, it is but a must for them to move on from the damage caused by the hurricane. Fortunately, there are nonprofit groups that already offered help and support so that the island nation can stand on its own feet once more. The association of hotel owners partnered up with NGOs and it makes perfect sense as they will all benefit once the Caribbean tourism industry picks up once more in the near future.