As Bahamas rebuild after Dorian, tourism officials tout destination at boat show

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - For those in charge of promoting the Bahamas as a tourist destination, rebuilding and rebounding from the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian begin with reminding people they’re still open for business.

Dionisio D’Aguilar, the island nation’s minister of tourism, joined other travel and tourism officials at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Friday afternoon.

Their message is simple.

“Come and visit us,” said D’Aguilar. “Help us rebuild by going to the islands that were not affected by the storm.”

In the months since Dorian decimated Marsh Harbour and Abaco Islands, crucial donations and supply runs have helped the Caribbean country deal with disaster.

But for long-term sustainability, officials said, the nation needs its neighbors in Florida to come enjoy everything else the Bahamas has to offer.

“We are an extremely tourism-dependent country, so the best way for you to help us is to visit us,” said D’Aguilar. “Go to those islands that were not impacted. That generates jobs, that generates income for the country, and that helps us to rebuild those islands that were impacted.”

Bahamas travel officials spread the word at the boat show ahead of the busy season.

Even after Dorian, D’Aguilar said, it’s still a destination location with 700 islands, crystal-clear waters and vibrant culture, only 50 miles off the coast of Florida.

“We are encouraging as many Americans as possible, especially those from South Florida that have that close affinity to the Bahamas, to make that trip,” he said.

Tourism officials reiterated most of the island nation was untouched by the storm.

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