Losses as a result of damage caused by super storms Hurricanes Irma and Maria, estimated at more than $5Billion US Dollars, highlight the importance for the region to allocate resources to disaster risk mitigation and preparedness “in order to ensure that the respective destinations rebound as quickly as possible” Director-General at The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Joy Jibrilu said. Mrs. Jibrilu said the recent onslaught of hurricanes (particularly Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017) have had the most significant impact on the socio-economic development of the region. The most affected sectors were tourism and housing respectively. “While it is prudent that we pay attention and develop effective strategies to manage and mitigate the many risks with the potential to bring disaster to our destinations, the onslaught of hurricanes in our region has had the most significant impact on socio-economic development,” Mrs. Jibrilu added.
Addressing a Bahamas Ministry of Tourism/Caribbean Tourism Organization/Caribbean Development Bank Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework/Disaster Risk Management Workshop at Breezes SuperClubs Resort, September 25, 2018, Director-General Jibrilu stated the workshop was an important regional initiative that was intended to “protect an industry that is a major contributor to our livelihood.” She said: “With the recent impacts of Climate Change on global economies, it is imperative that regional communities such as the Caribbean region begin to recognize the enormous threat that this phenomenon has, not only on our tourism economy, (but) on our very standard of living, and urgently develop effective strategies to mitigate its impact on life, property, and infrastructure.
“These workshops are critical activities which underpin the project, ‘Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry.’ I congratulate the Caribbean Tourism Organization for spearheading this important regional initiative. To protect the image of our respective destinations, we must all be vigilant of the various threats that can adversely impact on our economic lifeblood – our tourism economy.” The workshop, she affirmed, will reinforce the importance of collective efforts in mitigating and effectively responding to the threat of disaster whether it be natural, fire, health outbreak or any other that puts at risk the safety of citizens or visitors.