Bahamas asks tourists to help 'sustain the reconstruction' by returning to islands after Dorian

The Bahamas wants tourists to know it is still open for business despite Hurricane Dorian’s devastation to the region.

Officials with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation say outside tourism is needed to help “sustain the reconstruction that’s going to be necessary,” according to The Washington Post.

“When people say the Bahamas has been devastated, it gives the wrong impression,” Ellison Thompson, deputy director general of the tourism ministry, told the news outlet.

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Thompson said Grand Bahama and the Abacos, two of the country’s northeast areas, have been hit hard by Hurricane Dorian, which hit the islands as a Category 5 storm more than a week ago.

“It’s going to take years to get those islands back up, so we need the tourism revenue in order for us to sustain the reconstruction that’s going to be necessary,” Thompson said. “We definitely need the visitors to come.”

The Post notes that the Bahamas was on track for a record year in tourism before the storm hit, with more than 4.5 million visitors by air and sea coming between January and July.

Thompson said of the millions of visitors, 415,124 visited Grand Bahama and 284,228 visited the Abacos.

Despite the damage to two of the most visited destinations, the Bahamas tourism ministry issued a news release this week saying 14 islands are unaffected.

The tourism ministry “urges consumers to know that the best thing they can do for the country, now more than ever, is simple: visit The Bahamas,” the release stated.