Up Next: Delving Into Post-Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico
In the 16 months since hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through several of our beloved Caribbean destinations, we’ve set about traveling to the islands to give you a clear picture of recovery efforts. St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica – we’ve visited them all. A notable omission from our list: Puerto Rico.
Technically, I did touch down in La Isla del Encanto last January, a little more than five months post-Maria. I was only there for about 48 hours to attend a travel industry conference, though. Not nearly enough time to gain any insight into how things were coming along.
I returned to San Juan yesterday. Once again, my time here will be short; just three days. This time, though, I’ll definitely come away with a strong idea of the recovery here, and elsewhere across the Caribbean. At the same time, I’ll also help to shape new ways for future recovery efforts to better incorporate local West Indian businesses into mainstream Caribbean tourism.
Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, Puerto Rico
I’ll do all this by participating in the latest meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery. What’s that? From the CGI website…
Following the devastating 2017 hurricane season, local leaders from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda approached President Clinton to help them build back better. In response, the Clinton Foundation launched the CGI Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery. Building on CGI’s proven Commitment to Action model, this Action Network brings together leaders from across sectors to develop new, specific, and measurable plans that advance recovery and promote long-term resiliency across the region.
The session I’ve been invited to moderate today will focus on hurricane recovery, but not in the basic sense of getting infrastructure repaired and destinations back to business as usual.
The idea here is to develop tangible solutions toward weaving the types of authentic West Indian experiences we write about everyday into the broader visitor experience. Our goals in doing so are to make the real Caribbean more accessible to visitors, while also making our local island economies more robust and sustainable.
As you might well imagine, I’m exceedingly honored to have this opportunity to put our mission and uncommon style of travel in the spotlight for public and private sector tourism stakeholders around the Caribbean. I’ll be sure to let you know how things go in future posts…
*Photo credit: UC fan and pro-photographer, Zach Stadler