After A Rough Hurricane Season, The Caribbean Is Ready For Business Again
By Sharelle Burt
Everyone loves a comeback, especially when it comes with warm weather and sandy beaches.
Travel to the Caribbean is on the unexpected up and up. After Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit the islands hard, many were scratching heads at the thought of booking trips, but luxury travel agency network Virtuoso says bookings for the Caribbean between December 22, 2018, and January 3, 2019, are up eight percent. On top of that, business between January and February for next year is up 21 percent from last year.
It sounds like this is the time to get your squad together to book a trip to paradise. While islands like Anguilla still have some visible damage, they are eager to cater to the tourists who visit the island year in and year out. So eager, the popular Four Seasons hotel is running a special, offering a fifth free night when you book four nights.
Visitors would also be helping business as hotels have been leading the way when it comes to hurricane recovery in Anguilla and Dominica. In July, CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority, Colin Piper said forty-three percent of Dominica’s 962 hotel rooms were back in business. The tourism industry is a big deal in the Caribbean, so tourists returning to the island will ignite job growth.
Surprisingly enough, a lot of the area is back to pre-hurricane condition, close to seventy-five percent in fact, including Aruba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands. For those islands hit by the storms like Virgin Group founder Richard Branson’s Necker Island and British Virgin Islands’ Scrub Island Resort, tourists are still able to visit. The beaches of St. Barth and St. Martin are also open for business with reasonably priced deals.
Even though Puerto Rico was in a state of emergency just last year, the island is making positive strides in getting back to business. By the end of the October hotels like El San Juan Hotel, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort and Dorado Beach are looking to be open for guests again as well as some of Puerto Rico’s best beaches like Isla Verde Beach, Flamenco Beach, La Playuela and Gilligan’s Island.
Tourism in Puerto Rico makes up close to 10 percent of the island’s GDP so staying away too long hurts the island’s recovery efforts.