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The Bahamas needs you

Visiting the islands not affected by Hurricane Dorian will help the whole country

“We are asking our travel partners—like private pilots—to consider keeping their flight plans to the islands that were not affected.” It’s not a plea for money nor for thoughts and prayers, but for support. “The best way to help the Bahamas is by traveling to the Bahamas,” says Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation.

Photo by Chris Rose.

Hurricane Dorian swept through the 700-island chain in September, devastating the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco. Recovery is ongoing and general aviation has been part of the relief programs. But the island country is more than just those two islands. “We are still reeling from the devastation Hurricane Dorian brought to our beautiful, beloved country,” said D’Aguilar. “We have family, friends, and colleagues with ties to both Abaco and Freeport...we are praying for the safety of our countrymen. In the midst of all the devastation, we pledge continued support for our tourism industry, the key economic engine that fuels our country.”

Tourism is the No. 1 industry in the Bahamas and contributes about half of the country’s gross domestic product. Now that the storm has passed, the country—while continuing relief efforts—is communicating that of the 16 most-visited islands, 14 are open and unaffected by the hurricane. “More than ever we need you to come on vacation,” D’Aguilar said. “That’s the only way we can help our brothers and sisters in the north.”

“If a hurricane would hit Jacksonville in Florida, it wouldn’t mean that you wouldn’t go on vacation to Miami or Fort Lauderdale,” he said. “That’s the analogy we are making. Unfortunately, people are geographically challenged.”

Maintaining a robust tourism industry will be vital to help the country recover. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support and love for our islands, and we would like everyone to know that the best thing they can do for us right now is visit. Our beautiful island nation is ready to welcome you,” said D’Aguilar.

Nassau, Paradise Island, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Andros, Bimini, the Berry Islands, the Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Mayaguana, and Inagua were not affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Julie Walker
Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
Topics: Travel, Bahamas, International Travel

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