The hurricane season in the Caribbean had been less than unforgiving, with Hurricanes Irma and Maria delivering a major blow to the region in August and September last year. In the harder-hit islands, such as Dominica, Saint Martin, and Puerto Rico, a humanitarian crisis emerged where residents were confronted with no running water or electricity for months.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization noted that tourism is the most important economic driver for the region. But while many nations escaped the worst of the damage, tourist perceptions of destruction are affecting problems for some island nations where tourism is a main source of income. In fact, relief efforts amid medical and power crises remained the priority in many of these areas.
Puerto Rico was relatively unscathed after Irma hit, but it was massively affected by Maria, which knocked out 90 percent of its power. Capital city San Juan, however, opened to tourism months after devastation and still operates many of its popular hotels and destinations. The U.S. Virgin Islands was hit by both hurricanes and faces severe damage, and some major tourism hotspots such as St. John and St. Thomas require millions of dollars for repair. The Bahamas were struck by the destructive weather by sustained minimal damage.
Optimism prevails in many of these areas, and hotels are at a fever pitch offering welcoming beds and hospitality to tourists. In the face of natural disaster, resilience reigns in the spirit of local communities that depend on tourist satisfaction and happiness to live.
John Jefferis is most recognized as the owner of Coco Reef Resort located in Bermuda and Tobago, and the one responsible for acquiring and developing several hotels, resorts, and restaurants that are popular among tourists in Bermuda and the Caribbean. Visit this page to learn more.