Natural disasters are devastating and, unfortunately, unavoidable. Statistically, there has been an increase in natural disasters in the past 20 years with cities, countries, and islands being ravaged by typhoons, hurricanes, flooding, and more. It’s no surprise that natural disasters and tourism don’t often mix. Many vacationers will cancel or replan their trips for a later date for fear of the area’s conditions or their ability to fully enjoy the trip. However, it’s also important to consider how you can help these places by continuing forward with your travels! There are a number of ways to help communities recover from natural disasters and there are a few specific ways you can support them while you’re on vacation:
As a traveler, there are three huge ways you can help reduce the negative effects of natural disasters on tourism on your vacation:
Many destinations impacted by natural disasters already rely heavily on tourism to support their local economy and choosing to continue forward with your vacation will assist more than those who host your accommodations. As long as your destination and resort are safe to visit and the local community is welcoming of guests, it’s highly encouraged to take your vacation and to eat, shop, and engage in local experiences. The more people who continue to visit these destinations and spend money with local vendors, the faster they can rebuild and move towards their new sense of normal.
It’s common for those who decide to continue forward with their vacations after a natural disaster to volunteer some of their vacation time—whether that be with rebuilding, cleaning up, helping feed those in need, local pantry assistance, or any other volunteer activities. If volunteering is something you would like to participate in on your vacation, be sure to do your research on the appropriate organizations to work with. This way, you’ll know you’re working with a viable team that is responsible, respectful, safe, and well organized so you are able to help in the most effective way possible.
Whether you visit immediately after a natural disaster or a few weeks/months later, there are often companies and organizations collecting donations—both physical and monetary—for those in need. Take some time to learn about reliable local and national organizations that offer these services and consider donating. Even something small like packing a few clothing and bedding items in one of your travel bags can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Any amount of money or items can go a long way in assisting those impacted by the disaster and you’ll rest easy knowing your donations are going towards a worthy cause.