When the 2017 Atlantic hurricanes struck, the aftermath was unimaginable. The destruction impacted small communities in the Caribbean to some of Florida’s largest cities and was witnessed across the nation through news broadcasts and surreal videos that sprawled across social media. Rebuilding seemed an insurmountable task to many who lost entire homes and even worse, family members.
It’s difficult times like these that people came together to establish a true sense of community. Over the next few months, organizations and individuals took action worldwide to help raise funds to aid in recovery and rebuild lives.
Giving Back Through Tourism
One initiative that made an especially strong impact among the local community was spearheaded by BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company. With resorts in both Florida and the Caribbean, these fallen communities had become home, and finding a way to help out became a priority.
“This past hurricane season had an unprecedented impact on our communities,” said John MacMullen, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for BENCHMARK in Florida and the Caribbean. “While our resorts may have made it through unscathed, all of us have friends, colleagues, and family that were greatly affected and are still struggling today. We needed to do whatever we could to contribute to the recovery effort, and so the #OneParadise initiative was created. Our hope is that this idea may motivate other hotel companies and tourism organizations to join the recovery.”
A Local Initiative Makes an Impact
In the #OneParadise initiative, BENCHMARK resorts encouraged each guest to donate $5 per room, per night to go directly to the recovery of local hurricane victims. The initiative ran from September 20th – November 20th across five different resorts, including Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa, Marenas Beach Resort, Beachwalk Resort, and Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. In the end, BENCHMARK resorts raised $15,375 for the American Red Cross, one of the largest sums ever received by the American Red Cross in the region.
#OneParadise a great example of how tourism in disaster-struck areas can play a vital part in helping reconstruct local communities. To help give your support to these hurricane victims you can make an online donation to the Red Cross here.