D’Aguilar hopes visitors do not cancel their vacations, as other islands unaffected
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While Hurricane Dorian and the destruction left in its wake will have an impact on tourism in The Bahamas, with cancellations already being recorded this month, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said while the total impact remains unclear, it is hoped that vacationers to not abandon their plans to travel to islands unaffected by the storm.
The islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco were ravaged by Dorian. On those islands, communities were leveled, infrastructure was left in tatters, and thousands have been displaced. The rising death toll has risen to 50 and is expected to reach a “staggering” number.
As humanitarian efforts continue from both the domestic public and private sector and a host of international partners and organizations, the rest of The Bahamas remains open for business.
Speaking to the media outside the Churchill Building, “There are people who feel they do not want to vacation in an area that received such suffering, and so they [say] I don’t want to go to The Bahamas; there are too many suffering been even though Nassau isn’t.
“You have to give time for that to heal; you have to give people time to allow those thoughts and memories to subside and obviously The Bahamas is front and center every night on the network news in The Unites States.
While the ministry has not benefited from cancellations figures to date, the minister said it is hoped that planned visitors do not cancel their vacations.
“There are obviously some cancellations in September and end of August, probably because people did not want to be a country that was suffering or being impacted so severely and two; they just didn’t feel comfortable coming here, and so, we will see. There is no doubt it has had an impact sadly.”
Marketing and tourism promotions have been suspended while the country rebounds, according to D’Aguilar, who said it does not make sense to promote coming to The Bahamas when news agencies continue to report that the “place is devastated”.
“We have shut all of that down and we are accumulating our war chest and we launch again when we feel that it is fit and certainly when people are [minded] as we enter the winter season,” he said. “This is the slow anyway.”
Abaco and Grand Bahama are the second and third largest in terms of visitor arrival in The Bahamas, according to Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu. While the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, is a slowed tourism period, the timeline to recovery in Abaco and Grand Bahama is unknown.
Around 20,000 cruise passengers avoided The Bahamas due to the impending storm, according to D’Aguilar said last Sunday.