Hurricanes cost Caribbean USD 1 bn in tourism
The powerful hurricanes Irma and María wreaked havoc on their passage through Puerto Rico, and others.
The Caribbean lost more than USD 1 billion in tourism revenue after hurricanes dissuaded visitors during the most expensive storm season ever recorded, and recovery efforts could cost about USD 6 billion, Caribbean Tourism Organization official said.
The powerful hurricanes Irma and María wreaked havoc on their passage through Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other Caribbean countries in September 2017, but tourism was affected even in areas whose beaches and resorts were not affected by weather events.
"All of our travel partners, all without exception, called and said 'we have known that the Caribbean is closed,'" said Joy Jibrilu to Reuters, president of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, at the Caribbean Aviation Meetup event in the Bahamas.
Media coverage of the storms that tore down trees, tore roofs and caused flooding contributed to the perception that the entire region was affected in a homogeneous way, which led potential visitors to opt for other destinations for their vacations, said Jibrilu.
María, a great hurricane with winds of almost 241 kilometers per hour, caused damages for some USD 90,000 million in Puerto Rico and led to the flight of many residents. A study by Harvard University showed that the hurricane could have caused up to 4,645 deaths.
Irma, one of the most ferocious storms in the Atlantic in a century, caused the death of dozens of people and devastated homes, power lines and communications infrastructure in various parts of the Caribbean, and left small islands with almost no contact with the world Exterior.
Tourism in Cuba, which is one of the few healthy sectors in the troubled economy of the country, also fell after the passage of Irma.
The World Travel and Tourism Council said in a report released in April that the hurricanes caused an estimated fall of 826,100 visitors in the Caribbean and that the recovery could take up to four years and cost USD 3,000 million to the region.