How Can You Help After Hurricanes and Earthquakes? Keep Visiting

While many countries affected by recent natural disasters are located in beautiful warm countries with turquoise waters, the usual tourism did not return as hoped. Post hurricane Irma some Caribbean islands were untouched, but hurricane Maria left many implementing 24h curfews to protect their citizens, including some of the US Virgin Islands.

Antigua, for example was largely unaffected, mostly recovering within weeks of the hurricanes, but Barbuda only 28 miles to the north, suffered damage to 90% of its buildings. The British dependency Anguilla was left with only 10% of its electricity infrastructure intact. This will hit the luxury tourism on which it depends even more than other countries in the region.

Certain hotel chains in the Caribbean suffered, and a handful have closed for 6-12 months for repairs. This is significant because tourism is the region’s most important economic driver according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The coastal area is vulnerable to hurricanes but this is also what makes it so beautiful.

We know as well as you do that “give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day,” so the best thing we can do to help people long-term is to keep visiting. Oaxaca announced its openness to the public after major earthquakes in September 2017 for the same reasons: tourism is what keeps the economy going and its inhabitants employed.

Just under 3h away from Miami, Florida, the Dominican Republic is a stunning Caribbean destination, famed for dancing and its diverse geography. Amid the island’s recovery, the Excellence Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, which provides employment and economic activity that supports the local society like many hotels in the area, announced its reopening in November 2017 after refurbishments.

Receiving clients means hotels, restaurants, tour guides and local airports can continue providing jobs to locals. These locations, heavily hit by natural disasters, depend on the tourism industry and the only thing that’s better than donations is actually visiting them. Long-term this ensures locals continue to be able to maintain themselves and their families.

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