Lending a helping hand

Last week I wrote about the impact of Hurricane Sandy and within the course of a week, the northeastern shore of the United States is being adversely affected once again by bad weather. This time the snow is causing severe weather problems along the eastern seaboard.

For many years, hoteliers here in Barbados and indeed other warm weather destinations looked forward to the start of the winter season in northern countries. The earlier the snow started falling, the more likely it was to have a positive impact on tourism arrivals for our destination, as people sought to get away from the cold and enjoy a bit of our Caribbean warmth. This time around, the very thing that influenced our tourism growth in the past could have a negative impact on our performance this winter.

With the series of events which have taken place twice in quick succession within the same general area, it becomes increasingly difficult to see how a population which is under such challenge would be thinking of going on holiday when faced with the possibility of losing their possessions and homes. This area of the east coast is extremely important to our marketing efforts and sustaining our airlift capacity into the island.

Over the last 10 years, the people of New York were called upon to adjust to hardships and rebuild their lives. I am hopeful that they can also overcome this phase of their lives and rebound even stronger than they were before this severe weather.

I suspect that during the coming months, there is going to be a flurry of community activity to assist the New Yorkers in getting back on their feet. There are strong Caribbean and Barbadian communities in and around the affected areas and I am hoping that during this time of struggle, we would come together and lend assistance in whatever way we can to help those in need.

To me, the essence of true partnership is in not only reaping the rewards when things are good, but also being there during tough times and finding solutions in times of need. One likely suggestion could be for those in travel and tourism (airline, accommodation, media and ancillary services) to put together a series of prizes which can be used to generate funds through a form of sweepstake in the areas not affected to assist those who need such assistance.

* Tourism is our business, let’s play our part.

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