The hospitality industry is reaching out to help the people of Haiti in the wake of the 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck 10 miles outside of Port-au-Prince on January 12.
John Maginley, chairman, Council of Ministers and Commissioners, Caribbean Tourism Organization, said in a statement last Wednesday that the CTO “will be doing whatever is necessary to offer financial and other assistance and to coordinate relief efforts in the days and weeks ahead. We know that with the support of friends around the world, the strength and resolve of the Haitians themselves will prevail.”
Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism issued a statement following the earthquake in Haiti, its neighbor on the Island of Hispaniola. The Dominican government is providing a relief staging area at Santo Domingo International Airport and is making medical facilities available, according to the statement. The Dominican capital city, Santo Domingo, and the major resort areas have received little to no damage from the quake. All eight international airports are open and receiving flights, all cruise terminals and seaports are open and receiving ships, and all beaches, hotels, resorts, and tourism businesses remain open. The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Punta Cana, a popular resort destination, is about 400 miles east of Haiti’s capital.
Following are some ways you can help the relief efforts, along with some of the projects under way from the meetings and hospitality industries:
- For an exhaustive list of organizations accepting donations (separated into categories depending upon the specific types of aid they provide) plus a list of organizations through which you can donate your time or expertise, visit the CNN Impact Your World Web page.
- Meeting Professionals International has posted a list of legitimate donor organizations on its blog.
- The National Business Travel Association is posting updates on Haiti’s transportation, security, and infrastructure issues, as well as traveler advice.
- Working through its Harris Rosen Foundation, Rosen Hotels & Resorts has put together a Haitian outreach program, with a goal of raising $1 million. The company has announced that 100 percent of the contributions will go toward the earthquake relief effort. The outreach includes a supply drive, and drop-off locations have been set up in the Orlando area. Approximately 30 percent of Rosen Hotels & Resorts’ associates are from Haiti or are of Haitian descent; grief counselors have also been made available to employees.
- Royal Caribbean International announced that it will provide at least $1 million in humanitarian relief to Haiti and that 100 percent of its net revenue from cruise ship visits to Haiti will be contributed to relief efforts. Royal Caribbean has a private beach resort in Labadee, Haiti, which was unharmed by the quake. The cruise line is also setting up a system to let passengers donate money directly through their onboard accounts.
- The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation is sending $500,000 to the Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund to aid relief efforts.
- Choice Hotels, which recently announced plans to open two properties in Jacmel, Haiti, (the last U.S. franchise hotel pulled out 10 years ago), has set up a program allowing members of its preferred-guest program to translate their points into donations to Haiti relief funs. Several other preferred-guest programs are doing the same thing, including Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. Check directly with your hotel company program.
- Ship-charter specialists Landry & Kling are mobilizing laid-up or out-of-service vessels and barges to be available for humanitarian aid to Haiti. The company is waiving its management fees to help defray the cost of chartering.
- The American Library Association, at its Midwinter Meeting, which began January 15 in Boston, raised $28,000 for Haiti relief, including matching funds from the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
- American Airlines is offering a one-time 250-mile bonus to AAdvantage members who make a minimum $50 donation to the American Red Cross; frequent fliers donating $100 will earn 500 bonus miles.
- The Maho Group in St. Maarten has established the Haiti Relief Fund at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino, Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino and Royal Islander Club's La Terrasse and La Plage resorts through February 28, 2010. Guests can give a $1 donation per room, per day of their stay, which will be added to their bill. The Maho Group will match all donations daily in an effort to raise $50,000. The funds will be donated to regional chapters of the Red Cross and UNICEF.
- IVI Destination Management, supported by the Friends of the Maya Foundation, has compiled a list of reputable bank accounts accepting donations. These include accounts opened by Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the Mexican Red Cross.
- The Caribbean Tourism Organization Relief Fund is accepting donations by check to its New York office. Mail checks to 80 Broad Street, 32nd Floor, New York, N.Y., 10004. To donate by PayPal, visit the organization’s Web site.
- The United Airlines Foundation will match donations made through its International Response Fund (up to a total of $50,000) to the American Red Cross. In addition, Mileage Plus members and employees can donate miles to the airline's nonprofit relief partners as part of its Charity Miles program. United’s first relief flight to Haiti departs January 20 with 15,000 pounds of water donated by Walgreens, 384 sleeping tents from Feed the Children, and communications equipment from Airline Ambassadors. Relief workers from those organizations as well as Edge Outreach, Ramopo Haitian Task Force, and World Vision also will be on the flight, the first of up to 30 missions United will fly to the stricken island. On the return flight, United will be transporting people from Haiti to the United States.
- Travelers on Delta Air Lines can donate frequent-flier miles to one of the airline’s SkyWish Charities; Continental travelers can donate miles to the American Red Cross at the airline’s Web site.
- InterContinental Hotels Group is asking members of its Priority Club Rewards program to donate points in 10,000-point denominations to the American Red Cross.
- The Sandals Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, which has properties on the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, and the Turks & Caicos Islands, counts 375 employees of Haitian origin. The Sandals Foundation has created a Haiti Relief Fund and is accepting donations on property and online. The Foundation has designated two organizations as recipients of the funds—the Salesian Missions, which operated schools in Haiti, and Population Services International, an existing partner of the Sandals Foundation. You can donate and read more about these organizations at the Sandals Web site. The SRI corporate jet was provided to transport members of the Jamaica Defense Force to assist with relief efforts and will continue to be available as the need arises.
- Carnival Cruise Lines has begun accepting donations to the American Red Cross for its Haitian relief efforts from passengers on all 22 Carnival Cruise Lines ships, via their shipboard accounts. Carnival also is organizing a variety of fundraisers for earthquake relief. And the cruise line has partnered with the Miami HEAT National Basketball Association team and the American Airlines Arena to begin collecting food and emergency items that will be shipped and distributed to Haiti by the University of Miami’s Project Medishare organization. These efforts are part of a $5 million pledge from Carnival’s parent company, Carnival Corp. plc, and its affiliated cruise brands.
- El Al has delivered more than 80 tons of emergency supplies and 229 passengers, consisting of medical personnel, search-and-rescue teams, and a K9 rescue squad.
- Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air Mileage Plan members can donate frequent-flier miles through the airlines’ Charity Miles program until February 15. Up to 5 million miles donated will be matched by the airlines.
- On your cell phone, simply texting "HAITI" to "90999," a $10 donation will be sent to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts. It will be charged to your cell phone bill.
- Follow this link to the Red Cross donation page.
- Follow this link to Google’s Crisis Response Page, where you can donate to Unicef and Care.