December 3, 2021

Hurricane Maria update (As of Sep 24)

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From Caribbean News Now

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) have received the following updates from member countries and hotels regarding the impact of Hurricane Maria

British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands did not take a direct hit from Maria although the territory did experience high wind and rain. The BVI Tourist Board and government officials are still completing their full assessments.

The air and sea ports are functional post Hurricane Maria. The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority has cleared the Douglas Charles Airport for operation. The Canefield Airport is open although the tower has been impacted. Traffic management is therefore operated by hand-held radio. The Woodbridge Bay Seaport is open to receive cargo and ferry boats.

The prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has indicated that he received the assurance of his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau that the Canadian frigate St John’s will arrive off Dominica “around Sunday to assist with initial assessment and support”.

It has been reported that Hurricane Maria has flooded some parts of the northern Dominican Republic as it brought a lot of rain and high winds. Operations resumed at Punta Cana International Airport on Friday.

The archipelago was spared a direct hit by Hurricane Maria; however, the five islands experienced strong winds and heavy rain, especially in the south of Basse Terre, Les Saintes, and Marie Galante. Occasional flooding occurred in localized areas of Pointe-à-Pitre, Grande Terre.

There was no infrastructural damage, but there were two deaths.

Guadeloupe’s Pole Caraibe Airport suffered only minimal damage and is 100 percent operational with air traffic resuming.

“Hotels are up-and-running and suffered only minor damage,” said Daniel Arnoux, CEO of the Des Hotels et Des Iles Group.

Martinique was spared a direct hit by Hurricane Maria on 18 September.

Montserrat was spared by Hurricane Maria, although a few properties lost roofs and shingles. Some electrical poles are down; however, the Montserrat Utilities Limited is working to restore power to the entire island, with electricity already restored to more than 90 percent. Air services have been fully restored and the ferry service was due to recommence on Friday evening. Montserrat remains open for business.

Puerto Rico
The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport is now open to commercial flight traffic. A few airlines are already operating limited schedules. Most were looking to resume operations on Saturday. Cruise ports remain closed at this time.

St Kitts and Nevis
St Kitts is reporting that initial assessments have been completed and the island is resuming normal operations, as it was fortunate to escape major damage from the passage of Hurricane Maria.

All hotels in St Kitts are fully operational and those properties that do not engage in regular seasonal closures are open and servicing guests. St Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (SKB) reopened and began welcoming flights on Wednesday. The Port Zante cruise pier did not sustain damage and St Kitts was scheduled to welcome two vessels on Saturday. Park Hyatt remains on track to debut in November.

US Virgin Islands (St Croix, St John and St Thomas)
Governor of the US Virgin Islands Kenneth Mapp has announced that commercial flights at Cyril E. King International Airport are expected to resume on a limited basis towards the middle or end of next week.

Officials are preparing the St Thomas airport for humanitarian or mercy flights. Additional work is still required at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St Croix, and the government is working with cruise partners to transport some residents to Florida towards the end of next week.

Governor Mapp and Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty will meet with members of the business community in both US Virgin Islands districts next week to discuss the readiness of the territory to welcome visiting cruise passengers in 30 days.

The curfew currently in place in the St Thomas-St John district has been reduced by one hour, and will be enforced from 6 pm to 9 am daily. The four-hour suspension (between noon and 4 pm) of St Croix’s 24-hour curfew was repeated on Saturday, allowing residents to perform essential tasks such as refueling or picking up supplies from distribution centres or businesses that are open during that time.

The Department of Tourism continues to encourage travellers to postpone trips to the islands at this time.


American Airlines
American Airlines was due to resume partial operations to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday, with five roundtrip flights, including four roundtrips from/to Miami and one roundtrip from/to Philadelphia.

The planes will also deliver supplies and transport additional American team members who are travelling to the island for the resumption of operations at SJU.

Operations remain suspended to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands; St Croix, and St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and St Maarten.

British Airways
British Airways reports that all services are returning to normal and does not anticipate any further disruption. British Airways flies to Bermuda, Nassau, Providenciales, Grand Cayman, Antigua, Punta Cana, Cancun, St Kitts, St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Tobago and Trinidad

Delta has issued a travel waiver for flights to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico through 30 September and must be reissued on or before 7 October. Flights to Turks and Caicos Islands through 31 October must be reissued on or before the end of ticket eligibility, with rebooked travel to begin no later than 31 October 2018.

Southwest Airlines has issued a waiver on flights through 30 September to San Juan and Punta Cana.

United Airlines is waiving the change fee and any difference in fare on new flights departing through 7 October. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.

IMAGE: What remains of the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau, Dominica.

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