The Bahamas was on track for one of its best years of tourism before Hurricane Dorian caused devastation on the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands.
The storm killed at least 50 people, thousands more are missing, and the United Nations is reporting that at least 70,000 people are homeless.
There are more than 700 islands that make up the Bahamas, and several that are home to the best-known resorts, including Atlantis, Paradise Island. Many resorts and Nassau, the island’s largest city, were left unharmed by Dorian’s wrath, as reported in the Associated Press.
This leaves the leaders Bahamas with the conundrum of convincing tourists to travel to the island without dismissing how many people were affected.
The Bahamas’ economy is heavily dependent on tourism. Tourism supplies half of its annual gross domestic product of $5.7 billion, according to the Bahamas Investment Authority. It’s the reason why the island’s Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is urging travelers with plans to visit other islands to keep their reservations.
“All of the donations are welcome, but they can also, very much, assist us by still visiting the islands of the Bahamas in the unaffected areas. They are open for business,” said Ellison Thompson, the deputy director-general of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.
Thompson added, “In order for the reconstruction to happen, we would need our visitors to keep coming, so taxes can be used to aid in the reconstruction of those two islands.”
Here’s what you need to know about traveling in the Bahamas:
Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) and Leonard Thompson International Airport (MHH) in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, are closed indefinitely.
The following airports are still open:
- Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in Nassau (the largest airport in the nation)
- Exuma Airport (GGT)
- South Bimini Airport (BIM)
- North Eleuthera Airport (ELH)
- Stella Maris Airport (SML) and Deadman’s Cay Airport (LGI) in Long Island
Cruise and ferries
Visitors can still get around via water transportation through:
- Nassau ports are open and cruises are arriving daily
- Bahamas Ferries, which operates within the Bahamas, has resumed sailings, but passengers should check in with reservations for further information and updated schedules by calling +1 242-323-2166
- Balearia Caribbean sailings resumed on September 6. At present, sailings to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island are open to Bahamian residents only.
- The Port in Grand Bahama Island is open.
Some of the country’s favorite tourist spots are open for business