CTO and CHTA issue Caribbean post-hurricane update

CTO and CHTA issue Caribbean post-hurricane update 1024 640 C-Suite Network

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) continue to receive updates from member countries and hotels regarding the recovery and rebuilding efforts following the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the northern Caribbean and Leeward Islands.

The CTO Relief Fund (a 501 c3) helps families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, with monies raided being sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the hurricanes.

Anguilla

The government has announced that recovery from Hurricane Irma is proceeding at an extraordinary pace. Phone and internet communications have been restored to most parts of the island. Roads and beaches have been cleared, there are no longer queues at petrol stations, and grocery stores are well provisioned. Many local restaurants have reopened, along with a number of hotels that are housing relief workers and UK government officials. Significant progress is also being made on the restoration of the electricity grid; power lines to many villages on the central line through Crocus Hill and The Valley have been restored in the three weeks following Irma.

Chief minister, Victor Banks, has announced that plans are in place for the expansion of the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) and the reconstruction of the Blowing Point ferry terminal.

The British government has indicated that in short order they will be responding to the need to expand the airport. A team from the British Corps of Royal Engineers will oversee the project to extend the runway by 600 feet from its current 5,400 feet. The airport will remain open to private and commercial aircraft during this planned expansion period.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the terminal at Blowing Point will be demolished. Architectural plans have already been commissioned for the design and construction of the new facility. Construction is expected to begin shortly, at which point a more detailed timeline will be provided.

Seaborne Airlines has also announced the resumption of service between Anguilla and San Juan beginning today, 30 September, departing San Juan at 12:10pm to arrive in Anguilla at1:15pm and departing Anguilla at 1:45pm to arrive in San Juan at 2:50pm

N.B. Seaborne Airlines also announced on its Facebook page that it will resume service today, 30 September to Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, and to St Thomas on 2 October.

Anguilla latest hotel updates

• Carimar Beach Club: Grand re-opening is planned for 21 December.
• CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa: As assessment continues, it is anticipated the resort will remained closed for restoration through the summer of 2018.
• Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla: will not reopen before the end of 2017. Frangipani Beach Resort: annual opening date has been pushed back to December 2017

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board remains focused on rebuilding a stronger territory and tourism product and officials on the ground are continuing their full assessment of the tourism industry, and will share updates as they become available.

As of 29 September, there are several charter operators that have announced they will be operating during the winter 2017/2018 season including:

● The Moorings: December 2017
● Marine Max Vacations: December 2017
● Festiva Sailing: December 2017
● Horizon Yacht Charters: January 2018

“Through the BVI Ports Authority, we are on a fast track towards the restoration of Tortola Pier Park’s cruise and shopping facility with a targeted date of reopening at least 50 per cent of retail and food and beverage stores by 1 November,” Mark Vanterpool, the minister of communications and works said.

A majority of the hotels in the territory are currently closed and will share updates after more extensive assessments in the coming weeks.

Nearby Cyril E. King Airport (STT) in St Thomas reopened on 28 September, and BVI ferry companies (Road Town Fast Ferry and Native Son) have resumed operations between the islands allowing BVI Islanders, residents and work permit holders to return to the country.

Dominica

The ferry company L’Express Des Iles has resumed service between Dominica and Saint Lucia. While there is no service today, 30 September, beginning tomorrow there will be daily service through to Friday 6 October, although there will be return service only tomorrow 1 October and Friday 6 October. On the remaining days, service will be one way only, either from or to Dominica.

The government has announced that Calls may fax and telephone landline services are back up in the northern town of Portsmouth, and that the main Princess Margaret Hospital continues to function, along with most of the major type 3 healthcare centres on island. However, it says only some of the wards are currently functional and occupied, water and electricity have been partially restored and only emergency/life-saving surgical procedures are being performed..

Latest hotel updates:

• Fort Young Hotel: Closed. No word yet on a possible reopening date.
• Secret Bay Dominica: Damage assessments are under way and an update is expected soon on restoration of grounds and structures.
• Rosalie Bay Resort – A nature and Wellness Resort – Once communication is restored, updates will be provided as they become available.

Cuba

Minister of tourism Manuel Marrero Cruz is quoted by the official Granma newspaper as saying Cuba will be ready for the high tourist season without a trace of Hurricane Irma. The minister met with 160 tour operators last week at Varadero’s Plaza América convention centre.

He said power, water, and communications were restored in 100 per cent of the country’s tourist resorts, including the northern Santa María, Coco and Guillermo keys, and that tourism facilities in the territories of Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Cienfuegos, Mayabeque, Artemisa, and Pinar del Río, did not suffer any damage, and have been operating without any difficulties.

He described the damage suffered by facilities in Sancti Spíritus, especially in the north, Las Tunas, the northern coast of the province of Holguín, and Camagüey, as minor, while the damage in Havana and Varadero as minimal.
According to Granma, the minister said of the 18 hotels located on Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, the latter of which suffered less damage, 14 will be fully recovered by 1 November, while the local airport will also be fully operational, and in better condition than before the hurricane struck. The remaining four hotel facilities will be completely restored to reopen their doors by 15 November.

The minister explained that all extra-hotel activities in Cayo Coco will be restored and back in operation between 15 and 20 October, including its marina, dolphinarium, glass tower, and beach huts, and that hotels on Cayo Santa María are expected to be fully operational by 15 November.

Of the 52 hotels in the country’s main tourist destination of Varadero, all except five are open, and the minister said: “By 30 October, there will not be a trace of the hurricane in Varadero.”

He reported a 50 per cent drop in arrivals in September due to the hurricane, but through 22 September, the country had received 3.6 million tourists, 24 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) said it continues to work with state and federal government agencies and is collaborating with industry partners to assess the impact of Hurricane Maria.

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