NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – After the devastation from Hurricane Dorian, many of us are wondering how we can help the people of the Bahamas.
As it turns out, what they need most is visitors.
We've all seen the heartbreaking images coming from the Bahamas in the wake of Dorian – structures leveled, entire islands devastated.
If you think it's too soon to take a trip there you'd be wrong.
"I've been telling people who are wondering what they can do to help the Bahamas. I've said, 'the best thing you can do is go to the Bahamas,'" Lawrence Cartwright, the Bahamas' consulate general in New York said.
That's because the Bahamas relies heavily on tourism. It accounts for about 60 percent of the country's revenue, so the most direct way to help the country rebuild is to go visit.
"The Bahamas right now are truly doing remarkably well," Kimberly Wilson Wetty of Valerie Wilson Travel said.
The New York City travel agent says while two of the country's northern areas – Grand Bahama and the Abacos – are nearly unrecognizable, many of the most popular islands went unscathed.
"When we think about the Bahamas, it's such a widespread area of islands, so really understanding where the hurricane hit and it's really remarkable to think you can have that amount of devastation and literally a different island be completely, almost not touched," Wilson Wetty told CBS2's Nick Caloway.
And those untouched islands are open for business.
So the country will need as many tourists as possible to visit those unaffected areas; to help rebuild the ones that Dorian left in its wake.
"Go visit. The locals love it when people go travel. We need to have people staying in the hotels, flying in to the harbors, going by cruise ships, spending money in the bars and restaurants, shopping. Because I know the Bahamians will take that money and help their sister islands," the travel agent added.
If you can't take a trip to the Bahamas, the Bahamian consulate on Manhattan's East 46th Street is taking donations of supplies on weekdays.
Cash is king, of course. If you can donate officials urge you to give to well-established charities that can do the most good right now.
For more information on how to help the Bahamas, click here.
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