As the aftermath of Hurricane Florence continued to cause misery in the Carolinas, Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, on Friday provided an update on conditions and recovery efforts in the region. Here’s an excerpt from that report:
It goes without saying that our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with the many cities impacted by Hurricane Florence. Our team has reached out to the CVBs in the affected areas and will keep our membership updated with how we can help with recovery in the weeks and months to come.
Kim Hufham, President/CEO of the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau sent us the following message:
“We are already seeing positive signs of recovery in our area. Both bridges to Carolina Beach/Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach opened to residents earlier this week. We continue to receive positive reports of power being restored. Cleanup efforts are well underway, and businesses are preparing to reopen throughout Wilmington and its island beaches. The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is open, and we anticipate conditions will start to improve even more quickly once water levels recede.
“The Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is continuing to work closely with local officials and tourism industry partners as the situation evolves. Once officials fully assess the storm’s impact, we will be better prepared to answer specific questions.
“Visitors can find updates on what they can expect and when each destination is ready to welcome visitors again by visiting the CVB’s hurricane recovery sites. They can also follow along on each destination’s social channels, the links to which can be found here:
Many of you have contacted us over the past few days asking how you can help. We have updated the disaster page on our website to point you in the right direction. You may click here to learn more.
Inspiration and human kindness seem to especially be on display during times of crisis. We saw it in Houston, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, California and now, in North and South Carolina. It didn’t surprise us this week to see Washington’s own Chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen team quickly assemble to deliver meals to dozens of shelters, police stations, response teams, neighborhoods and families without access to food in the Carolinas. As of today, Andrés and his team have already prepared more than 80,000 meals for Hurricane Florence victims. You may recall that Chef Andrés and his team were some of the first responders in Puerto Rico and fed over 3.6 million people. During last year’s Destination Showcase keynote, he shared his passion for our industry, the importance travel plays in humanity and his commitment to serve. You may learn more and donate to the World Central Kitchen here.
A note from PCMA
As the storm continues to impact the Southeast, PCMA wants to get a head start on helping the business event professionals who will face a long road to recovery. The organization is collecting donations that will be distributed to those in need. Learn how you can contribute to the PCMA Education Foundation’s Industry Relief Fund, and stay tuned for more information on how PCMA plans to work with local CVBs to assist in the rebuilding process.
Photo Caption: Wilmington North Carolina, USA / September 12, 2018. Shopping center boarded up and empty in preparation of Hurricane Florence. Photo courtesy of michelemidnight.