Tourism Cares has partnered with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) to establish the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund, a relief effort for islands hit hard by Hurricane Irma. 

The goal of the fund is to speed the recovery and return of tourism to St. Martin/St. Maarten, Barbuda, St. Barts, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos and other islands.

"Along with housing and infrastructure, it is also critical to restore the tourism and livelihoods of these communities," the organizations wrote in a joint statement about the newly established fund.

The fund will pool the industry's resources to focus on tourism, providing monetary support as well as support in the form of manpower and influence.

"While CHTA is still surveying the damage, we know local tourism infrastructure such as visitor centers, beaches, monuments, attractions and trails have been badly affected. ... We also know the cultural organizations in those areas face damage and new challenges wrought by this disaster," the organizations stated.

The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund will be used for training and education initiatives for displaced travel professionals, restoration of attractions, and other investments based on need, which can include everything from volunteer management training to marketing to communications support.

The goal is to help affected islands be ready for the spring and summer 2018 travel season.

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