Living half-time in Napa Valley—California’s premiere wine region—I can relate to what the folks who live and work in the Florida Keys are going through as they recover from Hurricane Irma. During and long after the wildfires we experienced in October, the mainstream media continually ran graphic footage of a decimated neighborhood in Santa Rosa in nearby Sonoma Valley. It was tragic at the time and it remains tragic now, but it is not representative of the overall fire damage in Sonoma Valley, much less its Napa Valley neighbor.
Though there’s still a lot of work to be done, the Florida Keys are steadily recovering from Hurricane Irma. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The result? People are still avoiding Napa Valley—California’s No. 1 tourist destination—like the ashtray they’ve been led to believe it is.
So I have to imagine that the people of the Florida Keys cringe at the endless barrage of boat-stacked-on-boat-stacked-on-house-stacked-on-car images I still see in any media report about the region. Yes, there’s still a lot of obvious damage in the Keys. I saw it firsthand during our drive to Key West to cover the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships. But those tourist-scaring images are far from an accurate representation of the current overall state of the Florida Keys, an area where tourism is the economic lifeblood.
Conversely, painting an overly optimistic, glossed-over picture of the Keys would do a disservice to visitors.
Last Friday, the Florida Keys and Key West tourism organization released an accurate report on the current state of the area. What follows are keep segments of the report. (It’s still a bit long, but worth a read if a trip to the Keys is in your near future.)