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The Bahamas are open: Islands call for visitors after Hurricane Dorian

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Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Emmanuel VALENTIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands were pummeled by Hurricane Dorian, and at least 50 people are dead — a number that is likely to continue to rise — and property losses could reach $7 billion.

However, the majority of the Bahamas was untouched by the strong, slow-moving hurricane

And now, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Aviation is urging people to help the group of islands recover as a whole by continuing to visit more than a dozen islands that are open to receive visitors.

Ellison Thompson, deputy director general of the tourism ministry, told USA TODAY in an email that the country has seen trip cancellations to areas that were not hurt by the storm. The reason, he thinks, is that people believe the Bahamas as a whole was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

The tourism ministry is trying to clarify that many major tourism hubs have not been impacted and is visitors to keep their travel plans. 

“The Bahamas is a country of 700 islands and cays beginning 50 miles off the Florida coast and stretching for 750 miles from Bimini in the north to Inagua in the south,” said Thompson. “The distance between these areas are similar to the distance between Philadelphia and New York If NYC has an issue, it doesn’t affect Philadelphia.”

The best thing that people can do to help the Bahamas is simple: Visit. 

Cruise ports, airports, hotels and other popular tourist attractions in the central, northern and southern Bahamas are open for business.

“Maintaining a robust tourism industry will be vital in helping the country to recover and rebuild,” said Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism Aviation, in the release.

The islands the ministry recommends visiting include:

Acklins and Crooked IslandAndrosThe Berry IslandsBiminiCat IslandEleuthera and Harbour IslandThe ExumasInaguaMayaguanaNassau and Paradise IslandLong IslandRum CaySan Salvador

The ministry promoted using a tool called IslandFinder to plan a trip.

D’Aguilar said that the island nation is grateful for the outpouring of support and love and would like everyone to know that the best way is to visit the other islands.

“Our beautiful island nation is ready to welcome you,” said D’Aguilar in the release.

There are other ways to help, too. Organizations around the U.S. have been accepting donations and taking trips to the islands impacted by Dorian.

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