The Caribbean tourism industry and its many friends around the world are responding to the call for support for the storm ravaged islands of the northwestern Bahamas, The Abacos and Grand Bahama.
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (Association) is appealing to its membership, travel industry partners, national hotel and tourism associations, and all Caribbean tourism interests to support the islands of the northwestern Bahamas following the devastation wrought by Category 5 Hurricane Dorian.
CHTA Director General and CEO Frank Comito made the appeal after being briefed by the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism on how relief can be best provided for the people of the Bahamas as response operations begin and the extent of the damage assessed.
The association is advising the industry to be prepared to provide two stages of support for the ravaged areas, beginning with the immediate humanitarian needs over the coming weeks.
The Association has provided members with details as to how they can support immediate efforts with cash and urgent supply donations. Cash contributions are being directed through the Bahamas Red Cross. Collection points for emergency relief supplies have been established throughout southern Florida and in Nassau, Bahamas, through several initiatives by the Bahamas Government, the Miami-Dade County government and the Sandals Foundation.
“Our hearts are with those in The Abacos and Grand Bahama,” said Comito, who thanked “all who’ve expressed concerns and for your interest in helping our neighbors in this time of need.”
The tourism industry has provided tremendous support during times of need. This support was instrumental in delivering critical emergency relief to storm damaged Caribbean destinations in the past, including The Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Our people respond with great generosity both to the immediate and long-term recovery needs. Caribbean people are extremely resilient, but need help to bounce back as quickly as possible,” said Comito.
To help support the long-term recovery, the Association is putting in place an online auction. Hotels throughout the Caribbean basin are being invited to donate room stays that the travelling public can bid on, with the proceeds going towards the long-term recovery. “We are working with Charity Buzz and the Caribbean’s 33 national hotel and tourism associations to organize the fundraiser, which we hope to launch to the travelling public in the coming days,” Comito said.
The CHTA Education Foundation is also undertaking a targeted fundraising campaign, with proceeds going to help with education and school-related initiatives for the children in The Abacos and Grand Bahama.
Immediate support is essential and details on how people can help are available now at http://www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/hurricane-resources and https://www.bahamas.com/relief.
To support the long-term recovery needs, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association will release further details in the coming days on how the travel industry and the public can help.
“As we’ve done in the past, all project funding will be directed based upon on-the-ground consultation with the Bahamas tourism industry’s public and private sector stakeholders. It will be needs-based, no waste, and aimed at helping to rebound for the long-haul. The recovery will take several years,” said Comito, who urged all and sundry to rally around the Association’s “‘One Caribbean Family” campaign.