December 19 2017  |  Industry News

Tourism returns to Caribbean post the hurricanes

By Ronnie Lovler

Tourism is returning to the Caribbean in the wake of two devastating hurricanes earlier this year, a fact underscored by the “Caribbean is Open,” a wide-reaching publicity campaign, spearheaded by the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).

FCCA, in conjunction with other regional stakeholders, launched its efforts to counteract the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria on tourism in some Caribbean destinations.

"We could not be prouder of the results so far," said FCCA President Michele Paige, in a news release. "The most rewarding thing about this campaign is that it has directly benefitted people's lives throughout the Caribbean, as many destinations rely on tourism as the lifeblood of their economy.”

Now the FCCA has kicked off another campaign, with an equally positive spin. Its “Caribbean for Everyone,” effort focuses on the region’s vastness and variety. “We look forward to continuing the momentum and impact with 'Caribbean for everyone,’’ Paige said.

The “Caribbean is Open” campaign generated more than 4.26 billion impressions as well as nearly 12 thousand media placements, according to the FCCA. The campaign has also featured a landing site, CaribbeanIsOpen.com, with destination footage, a Q&A, traveler testimonials, and a map of open destinations,

The campaign focused on educating tourists and potential visitors to help them understand more about the Caribbean - its one million square miles and 100 ports, most of which were unaffected by the hurricanes. It also showcased the affected destinations' resiliency and tireless recovery efforts, with a special focus on heavily hit destinations like the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In November cruise ships were again calling on St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands with Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas being the first to return on November 10. By the end of the month, the destination was already handling five cruise ships with thousands of passengers each day.

And although Puerto Rico is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Maria, tourism is open there with more than 100 hotels and 4,000 restaurants back in business. According to FCCA more than 80,000 homeport passengers have already visited San Juan in the last two months.

The FCCA said its “Caribbean for Everyone” campaign would run through 2018, to show that the Caribbean truly does have something for every possible visitor.

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