Since September’s rounds of bashing hurricanes that historically pounded the Caribbean to unprecedented damages, islands have been making preparations for tourism recovery. The impact of the storm extended past flooding and wreckage. Ports have been closed for most of the islands, ceasing cruise ship docking, which in turn eliminates tourism in a region whose economy largely depends on visitors.
Still, the islands are gearing up for their come back. According to the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), a massive marketing plan has been created in an effort to draw tourists to the vacation destination, once again. Rebooting their usual economic inflow is imperative for full recovery.
Part of that marketing campaign includes a website, www.caribbeanisopen.com, in which potential tourists can check on island recovery progress, which, the FCCA hopes, will ignite tourism, and in turn, benefit their economic recovery. Many people are overlooking the Caribbean as a potential vacation destination because they believe that the islands are completely destroyed, but this perception is incorrect. The website is intended to change that attitude, and bring tourists back.
Despite the storm impact, many of the islands’ tourist attractions are up and running, and in the high-quality condition that luxury travelers traditionally expect. It’s estimated that in coming weeks, 90% of the vacation destinations will reopen their ports, allowing for cruise ships to dock. The first port scheduled to open is in St. Thomas on November 10 with Royal Caribbean. Downtown Charlotte is reportedly in very good shape.
Ports begin opening throughout November and December, with regularly scheduled tours returning to most destinations in January and February, including Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, which was particularly battered from Hurricane Irma. Cruise ships have their own routes and timetables with each port, travelers should check on individual cruise carrier websites to find specific route schedules.