Seven weeks have passed since the passage of Hurricane Irma, and there continues to be a mixture of emotions on Anguilla.
Admiration for the greenery and flora that have returned in abundance; concern for the homes that must be restored and businesses that need to be rebuilt.
Anguilla's tourism sector, which fuels the local economy, has been severely impacted by Irma. Many hotels, villas and other accommodations; restaurants and activities have been impaired and will not be available for the Winter 2017/2018 season. In the midst of the challenges there are bright rays that signal that Irma’s fury has revealed many other wonderful accommodations on the island, hitherto hidden. The diversity of Anguilla's tourism product continues to shine forth and for the 2017/2018 season an array of luxury villas and intimate Charming Escapes collection properties will provide guests with a great opportunity to experience another dimension of Anguilla's quality accommodations; as well as the many culinary delights and invigorating activities that will allow our guests to share in a memorable, authentic Anguilla vacation experience.
Against this backdrop, the Anguilla Tourist Board has been engaging in a number of activities both locally and in the market place. On island, our staff has been rallying together working in less than optimal working conditions, to keep markets updated as well as the local community. Locally we engaged in a beach cleanup and have also distributed relief items to a number of persons. We have toured the island to get a firsthand look at the damage caused by Irma; met with the membership of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association as well as the Ministry of Tourism, our key partners in the sector. We continue to liaise with other strategic partners in the private sector including our transportation partners for real time updates on the status of their businesses and opening dates, so as to inform both guests and residents. The Anguilla Tourist Board continues to meet with local government agencies as well as regional and international agencies to assess the impact of Irma on the industry and economy.
The ATB continues to maintain its presence in the market place to ensure that Anguilla remains top of mind for travelers desirous of celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas 2017 and beyond in the Caribbean. Anguilla is no ordinary tourism destination and we will continue to share the message that Anguilla is Beyond Extraordinary. We will be hosting Webinars with leading travel agencies; attending trade shows and promotions in Argentina, UK, USA and Canada, and will continue to keep both the consumer and trade media updated on important developments on the island. The Anguilla Tourist Board is strengthening its digital presence to enhance its engagement with travelers and is launching its Voluntourism Programme which will enable travelers to share in the experience of helping to rebuild Anguilla, while enjoying the uniqueness of an authentic Anguilla Experience.
Post-Irma, the Anguilla Tourist Board has established both in-market and on-island goals. We are working in harmony to maintain positive engagement between the Anguilla Tourist Board's stakeholders and the Anguilla community; increase the sense of pride and commitment to developing and maintaining Anguilla's tourism product; enhance the visitor experience; keep Anguilla top of mind through increased awareness of, and engagement with brand Anguilla in the digital space; increase visitor arrivals to the island and decrease cancellations. There are many tourist destinations offering great vacation experiences; and then there is Anguilla........We are Beyond Extraordinary!