Travel agents advise vacationers not to postpone trips to the Bahamas, tourism dollars needed

Travel agents advise vacationers not to postpone trips to the Bahamas, tourism dollars needed
Sandals resorts say they've experienced no disruption to their amenities, excursions, or tours, and urge travelers to keep their trips. (Source: Associated Press)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Travelers who have upcoming trips to the Bahamas may have a lot of questions. Resorts and travel agencies are saying 'ask away!' but don't cancel your trips. Most airports in the Bahamas, like in Nassau and Exuma, remain operational and never closed. Sandals resorts say they've experienced no disruption to their amenities, excursions, or tours, and urge travelers to keep their trips.

When Billy Noething saw the devastation in the Abaco region of the Bahamas, he and his gym members at Crazytrain Crossfit got together and got involved in the relief efforts.

"The first thing I thought of was collect any necessities, partner up with anyone who is doing the same," said Noethig, co-owner, Crazytrain Crossfit in West Palm Beach.

But there's something else that's been in the back of his mind, an upcoming trip to Nassau in October.

"We might not be able to do because of what happened,"is the first thing Noethig thought. "Not knowing how many islands there are and I didn't realize that the area that we are going to is not affected."

Travel agents say don't put off your trips to the Bahamas. There are more than 700 islands in the Bahamas and more than 90 percent remain untouched by Dorian's wrath. They also say don't feel guilty about your vacation.

“That idea of going and having a good time while not too far away there’s islands that have been devastated, but you know unless you donate your vacation money to the Bahamas, the next best thing is to go and enjoy it because the Bahamians need it and that’s what they want to see happen,” said Mary Hurley-Lane, luxury travel consultant at Travel Leaders of the Palm Beaches.

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Many families impacted by the hurricane will be looking for work on other islands. Hurley-Lane said the Bahamas shares a similar tourism season like South Florida and the winter and spring months are usually the busiest travel months. Tourism fuels the economy in the island nation.

"Us going over there is contributing back to helping them rebuild what's gone," said Noethig.

Travel agents advise if you do have a trip planned to the Bahamas, you should check with your airline before traveling as you would any trip. If you have questions, ask your travel agent or hotel/resort staff.

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