Delroy Lake, President of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association (file photo courtesy shadesofblue.com).
ANGUILLA–Tourism Week is being celebrated under the theme “Extraordinary is in our Nature; Resilient and Rebuilding Sustainably.” In a post-Irma Anguilla, the theme chosen for Tourism Week is one that is applicable to all of Anguilla, not just the tourism sector.
President of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association (AHTA), Delroy Lake said that Anguillians are certainly extraordinary and resilient by nature. He said that Anguillians in the days after Hurricane Irma were busy cleaning up after the storm and beautifying the island despite how difficult it seemed at the time. He noted that the trucking companies, backhoe operators and community organisers must be commended for giving of their time, equipment and expertise in assisting in getting the island cleaned up.
In a radio address marking Tourism Week, Lake said the hurricane gives an opportunity to rebuild better than before in an effort to weather the next big storm. He said it is an opportunity also to modernise hotels and restaurants and remodel properties to give visitors the best possible facilities.
“If we are going to rebuild sustainably it is important that we ensure proper air access in and out of Anguilla. The lengthening of the runway at the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport must become the next priority for Anguilla. With tourism being the lifeblood of this country, we cannot afford not to have this facility,” he said. He noted that we cannot be dependent on others for what is the island’s livelihood and the airport is also important for evacuation. He said that luckily Irma came in September when most hotels were closed but if it had been later there would have been an evacuation problem.
“We need to make it mandatory for tourist evacuations prior to a hurricane [category to be determined – Ed.]. When you have a hurricane of the nature of Irma, the effects of having tourists on the island in the aftermath of the storm can be catastrophic. There are many more of these policies that need to be modernised and enforced,” he said.
The President pointed out the need to make sure people working in the tourism industry are well trained to deliver world class service. He said that includes ferry boat operators, porters, Immigration officers and Customs officers, amongst others. “Take the opportunity to create an environment that will create memorable experiences for our visitors,” he said.
“Anguilla was battered by Hurricane Irma, but we are bouncing back. Hotel properties are beginning to open, restaurants are also opening [and – Ed.] services and activities are up and running. This may not be the season we had hoped for, but we are opening for business. Once open, we must put our best foot forward. We must make the very best of whatever the season offers so that the word gets out there that Anguilla is still truly the number one island in the Caribbean. We are certainly ‘Extraordinary by our Nature’ and we will need to rebuild an industry that is resilient and sustainable for future generations,” Lake concluded.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71420-ahta-president-highlights-need-to-rebuild-sustainably