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.
The CHTA will work local hotel and tourism associations to assess needs and determine priorities. Tourism Cares will administer the fund, engage the industry and provide expertise based on decades of philanthropic experience in disaster recovery.
CHTA president Karolin Troubetzkoy and chief executive/director general Frank Comito issed an appeal to members, travel partners, any company which does business with the Caribbean, and friends of the Caribbean to support the fund.
“There is no shortage of need for us to fill, given the scope of the hurricane’s impact,” they said in a joint statement.
“We know that there will be a considerable number of displaced employees who can benefit from skills training during the down time while their property is being restored, hospitality studies programmes in the schools need to be re-outfitted and strengthened, there are visitor centers at airports which were destroyed, the island’s hotel and tourism associations need support to help tourism rebound as quickly as possible. Implementing new marketing strategies to stimulate the economies once they are ready will be critical.
“The needs are tremendous, and we appeal to our tourism industry partners to help us address them in a big way.”
Tourism Cares chief executive, Mike Rea, added: “This effort is a natural complement to all the wonderful giving we’ve already seen from the travel and tourism industry.
“We can make the greatest difference by giving together with our industry, for our industry — especially in times of crisis. We will leverage not just our donations but also our expertise and influence, and we will share our stories and lessons throughout the industry.”