THE Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board (BOIPB) has committed $50,000 to the relief effort in Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island and San Salvador, where many of its member properties were damaged by Hurricane Joaquin.
To help facilitate the relief effort, the BOIPB is also making contributions towards the fuel costs for Tropic Ocean Airways, which has done “a superlative job” it says in transporting emergency supplies to hotels in the devastated islands.
The BOIPB, aware of the needs of the wider community, said on Friday it will do “everything that is feasibly possible to help our member properties contribute to the restoration of the economies of the affected southern islands”.
“The affected islands need their small local hotels and lodges to reopen to enable them to support wider recovery efforts. As more people travel to the southern islands to help with the restoration they will need places to stay, to eat and to connect with the stricken communities,” a release from the Board said.
Chester’s Highway Inn, Acklins, suffered major water damage but has opened to accommodate visitors assisting in the relief effort. The hotel, which sits on high ground, is planning to officially re-open in November.
Chester’s Bonefish Lodge was fortunate not to have suffered complete demolition. The property had significant water damage and a utility room was detached from the main building. While no new opening date has been set, the owners are working to salvage as much as they can.
In Crooked Island, Tranquility on the Bay was battered badly by the category four storm. This was a newly-constructed, family-owned resort in Major’s Cay, rated as the no.1 bed and breakfast in Crooked Island by leading travel webiste TripAdvisor. In the midst of facing the life threatening storm, the Ferguson family also had to grapple with the possible loss of their livelihood. However, the family is binding together with support from partners and is also expected to re-open in November.
The BOIPB said the owner of Gems at Paradise in Long Island had informed it that she has “no idea when” the resort will reopen. Between the extensive roof damage, smashed windows, missing doors, and destruction of the beds and furniture that were entirely soaked through, the road to recovery will be a long one. The same goes for Greenwich Creek Lodge, Long Island, which was also a newly renovated property sustaining “lots of damages” and has closed until further notice.
Hoteliers are grappling with the hard realities of extensive damage and, ion some instances, lack of insurance. One hotelier said: “without a miracle I do not know how I will be able to rebuild.”
However, in San Salvador, Riding Rock Resort and Marina - where the owners will be celebrating 31 years in business - has committed to re-opening in April 2016. Their efforts are being supported by long time visitors to San Salvador and friends of the resort.