The 2017 hurricane season has been relentless. This past summer and fall, the news has been filled with stories of the devastation that Harvey, Irma and Maria have caused in the Caribbean and in the southern United States.
While the residents of these impacted areas rebuild, many of us want to help but may also feel conflicted about whether we’ll be able to send travel incentive participants to our favorite island destinations again. The good news is that tourism is one of the fastest ways to boost the Caribbean economy, and the staff at Docherty Incentives & Meetings knows the best ways groups can travel to the Caribbean after hurricanes.
Many of us tracked the weather this season, concerned for friends and family who were in the path of these hurricanes. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were especially strong in Texas, Louisiana, Key West, the Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Barbuda and Puerto Rico. These three hurricanes combined caused over 300 deaths and resulted in enough damage that the affected areas will be rebuilding for months or even years to come.
Hurricanes, which are large, swirling storms, are separated into five categories, based on wind speed. Hurricanes Irma and Maria were Category 5 hurricanes, so the winds were more than 157 miles per hour (mph), which is similar to the speed of some high-speed trains. Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane, which means the winds were 130 to 156 miles per hour (mph). Hurricanes that are Categories 1 through 3 range from 74 mph to 129 mph. Hurricane season normally starts in June and runs through November, so we’re finally nearing the end of the 2017 season.
While several Caribbean islands were greatly impacted during this hurricane season, many areas such as St. Kitts, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Aruba and Antigua weathered this season mostly unscathed. The Caribbean, which is one million square miles, includes more than 7,000 individual islands, so there are plenty of places to visit if the island you were hoping to send your team or customers to isn’t ready for tourists just yet.
Antigua, Barbados, Aruba, Dominican Republic and Jamaica are already welcoming back visitors, and we’re on top of whether hotels are ready for guests and any activities we’ve planned are still running at top form. We’ve discovered some hotels and resorts are waiving cancellation and rebooking fees. Because we’re your insiders for your travel incentive packages we have an easier time booking your team in the hotels affiliated with larger brands as they’ll be up and running sooner than smaller hotels. Knowing the ins-and-outs of how to visit the Caribbean after the hurricanes is key to having a great trip, and Docherty Incentives & Meetings is here to help.
A natural disaster like a hurricane may make us feel helpless, but there are concrete ways to be helpful and support the affected communities. We will only book your team on a travel incentive to the Caribbean once all the amenities are up to 100% standards. If any destination is still working to rebuild infrastructure, we would only send your customers or teams there once all is functioning at optimum performance levels. Once there rest assured that your team’s tourism dollars will make a positive impact on the local economy.
The Caribbean relies heavily on tourism: according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism contributed $56 billion to the Caribbean’s gross domestic product last year. While you may be wondering if your employees or customers should choose the Caribbean for a travel reward this winter, consider the positive impact they can have simply by allowing Docherty to book their hotels and create team-building activities for your team there. We do all of this for your team and they can even enjoy the warm weather and picturesque beaches during the same incentive trip. Your group will be boosting the local economy and helping the residents of the area they visit, many of whom may work in the tourism industry.
With over 30 years of experience in the travel incentive and global event management industry, the staff at Docherty Incentives & Meetings knows how to visit the Caribbean after the hurricanes and can help you plan a rewards trip for your team that will have a lasting, positive impact.
No matter the destination, we always ensure our clients’ safety. Because our staff has visited each incentive destination, we have local contacts we stay connected with who can keep us updated on local news. Ultimately, the question isn’t “if” your team should visit the Caribbean, it’s “how”, “where” and “when.” Contact Docherty today to start planning your team’s Caribbean adventure.