Steel pan versions of Christmas songs are playing again. Probably including my favorite Christmas song by the indelible Jimmy Buffett, ‘Christmas in the Caribbean’:
“It’s Christmas in the Caribbean, snow birds fill the air.
… send away for mistletoe.
It’s Christmas in the Caribbean, we’ve got everything but snow.”
No-one will be singing any songs with Maria in them or naming their newborns after grandma Irma this holiday season, of course. However, slowly but surely Caribbean people are picking up their lives and businesses, some trying their best to be ready for the holiday season.
And low and behold, some islands are back in a new way (like with more solar power, thanks to Elon Musk, see my blog: More Tesla Solar Powerpacks Arrived at Puerto Rico Airport link below) and open for business.
Photo of Labadee, Haiti, from moveabroadnow.com
The headline, ‘The Caribbean is now Open for Business’, www.caribbeanisopen.com, is a quote from a campaign launched in October 2017 after the devastating effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria this year.
It is called the “Caribbean is Open”-campaign and aims to make tourists aware that 90% of islands in the Caribbean are unaffected by the hurricanes. According to some Caribbean websites, there has been about a 26% decrease in business to the Caribbean because of a perspective that the whole Caribbean has been devastated. This is not true. The US Virgin Islands, St Martin, St Barth and Puerto Rico are the most developed and well-known ones affected. Smaller ones include British Virgin Islands, some of the Bahamas but not the most visited islands, Barbuda, Turks & Caicos, Dominica and Cuba that were affected by the hurricanes this year.
The fact that these islands were so hurricane-slapped should urge tourists to visit them in order to support their road to recovery.
But that also means other favorite islands are still ready for the picking this upcoming holiday season. Off the top of my head there are so many – in alphabetical order: ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao), Anegada, Antigua, Anguilla, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, St Eustatius, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.
Since these islands are mostly dependent on tourism, this could be a very good idea and an altruistic-tourist-move – beneficial for everyone involved. After all, since it started snowing in the northern hemisphere again, what more do you want than a sandy beach and sunny shores, those are still on the islands. Hotels have electricity, water and food as they were more prepared for disaster than the general islander, so why not? For instance, 65% of hotels in Puerto Rico are now operational and so are many resorts on Turks & Caicos.
Why not view a visit to the affected islands as your own personal donation to their hurricane relief programs?
Here’s a thought for every tax-paying tourist – why not speak to your legislators and request that your away-time this year to the Caribbean, or if you’re from the US – St Thomas, St John, St Croix or Puerto Rico – can be made tax-deductible (as a donation)?
Just a thought. I am looking into doing that.
Hope to see you in the Caribbean this holiday season. Season’s greetings!