Hurricane Irma Aftermath: The Latest Caribbean Infrastructure Assessments

Storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. // Photo by Caribbean Buzz Helicopters via AP, Newscred

Here’s the latest infrastructure assessments issued by both the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) following the impact of Hurricane Irma.

For the latest island-by-island hotel damage assessments, click here

The following is the latest update regarding Irma's impact on Caribbean destinations.

Anguilla

The Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) is open from sunrise to sunset for charters and emergency flights. The Road Bay Port at Sandy Ground is open to receive cargo.

Aid from the United Kingdom in the form of food, water, medical supplies and technical support has been arriving, according to the CTO. 

As far as restaurants go, Blanchards received moderate damage and Blanchards Beach Shack is in "great shape, requiring just a little clean-up," according to the CTO. The owners expect to be able to open both restaurants as soon as the major resorts are open.

DaVida Restaurant & Bayside is reporting that the canopy on the second floor of the loft was lost. The Bar at the Bayside is still intact, but the dining area will be rebuilt, according to the CTO and CHTA reports. 

Garveys, Pumphouse and Mango's were devastated, while Dune Preserve, Elvis' Beach Bar, Dolce Vita and Ripples also suffered severe damage. Jacala, Geraud's Patisserie and Grands Vins de France "all survived," according to the CTO. Johnno's, Dads and Picante are still standing, but will require some repairs.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua was impacted minimally and the V.C. Bird International Airport has been open since September 7.

According to a recent updated statement by the CTO, restaurants and bars have re-opened including popular beach establishments such as Beach Limers, Coconut Grove, Sheer Rocks, Turners, Darkwood Beach Bar and Restaurant, Trappas, Le Bistro, and the more than 150 dining options to choose from in Antigua.

On the other hand, Barbuda, with its roughly 1,800 residents, was severely impacted by the hurricane which passed directly over the small island. In fact, Gaston Browne, the prime minister, said 90 percent of homes were destroyed. 

The Bahamas

The Bahamas is getting back to business as airports are open in Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and on nearly all Out Islands; international flights have resumed, including service to some Florida airports; and ports have reopened, allowing cruise ships to begin to return.

Parts of the southern islands were more heavily impacted, with damage ranging from cosmetic to severe structural damage. An assessment of Ragged Island continues, but other islands, such as Acklins Island, Crooked Island, Inaugua and Mayaguana are mostly cleared, according to the CTO. Full assessments throughout The Islands of The Bahamas began Monday, and will continue throughout the week. 

Bahamasair resumed service into the United States on Sept. 12, at the following airports: Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport; Orlando International Airport and Miami International Airport.

While airlines are operating international flights out of Grand Bahama International Airport, U.S. customs and border pre-clearance is currently unavailable and will be reinstated at a later date. 

Out Islands International service has resumed from Exuma International Airport in The Exumas and Marsh Harbour Airport in The Abacos.

The British Virgin Islands

As the Government of the British Virgin Islands continues to assess the significant damage sustained during Hurricane Irma, all travelers in need of assistance are encouraged to consult with the BVI Tourist Board office. The priority in the coming days is to ensure that all remaining visitors are safely transported out of the territory.

According to the CTO, British Virgin Islands Governor Augustus Jaspert said in a statement, “Ports are opened to receive food and supplies. We are hoping to open the airport to commercial flights very soon.”

Virgin Gorda

The tourist board office is located at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour. Current hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please be reminded that a curfew remains in effect on Virgin Gorda from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Tortola

The tourist board office on Tortola is not currently in operation. While work is being undertaken to get the tourist board office back up and running, those who require assistance on Tortola should visit the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) which is operating out of Peebles Hospitalin Road Town.

At these two centers, staff will provide assistance in coordinating departures from the islands. On 11 September, the team on the ground helped American visitors board a ferry to St. Thomas for transportation to Miami via Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise ships.

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a relative or loved one who was in the territory at the time of the storm, please contact [email protected]. This email account is monitored by the staff of the BVI Department of Disaster Management and will assist with all inquiries. As the country works to restore communications including mobile phone and internet service, this is the most efficient channel to seek information about those remaining in the territory.

Cuba

The CTO released a statement announcing that Havana has experienced major flooding, power has been knocked and widespread wind damage has impacted the area. According to the CTO, "Ten people have died in Cuba, according to state television reports issued on Monday."

Dominican Republic

According to the CTO, the Punta Cana International Airport has resumed normal operations following the passage of Hurricane Irma. The area’s hotel sector is reporting no major damage. Damaged homes and flooded streets in Cabarete and Sosua have been reported.

Haiti

Haiti was relatively unscathed. All services remain in operation and the country continues to welcome visitors. Travelers are advised to contact their local travel or booking agent for detailed arrangements about their bookings.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's tourism infrastructure has allowed the island to resume regular operations of hotels, sites and attractions beginning this week. 

The island is continuing to welcome travelers with planned vacations in September and beyond, and has also become a transient hub for travelers across the Caribbean. 

While some power outages are present throughout the island, most of the island has power and the majority of the hotels, as well as essential services on the island such as hospitals and supermarkets, have electric service and are fully operational.

Visitors with questions about travel to Puerto Rico can call the PRTC hotline at 877-976-2400 or call their hotels directly for more information.

St. Barts

It has been reported that St. Barts' Gustav III airport has re-opened for commercial operations and is accepting flights from carriers such as Air Antilles (out of Guadeloupe) and Tradewind Aviation (out of San Juan).

Electricity has been restored in Gustavia and St. Jean and the island's water production is back to normal levels, according to the CTO.

France's President Emmanuel Macron visited the country on Wednesday to assess the damage.

St. Kitts and Nevis

According to the CTO, St. Kitts and Nevis sustained minimal damage overall and both St. Kitts' Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport and Nevis' Vance W. Amory International Airport have re-opened.

St. Maarten and St. Martin

According to the CTO, both the French and Dutch governments have sent people to the country along with supplies and vital aid. 

According to CNN, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters last week, “In terms of material damage, the four strongest buildings on the island of St. Martin have been destroyed," which meant that weaker structures likely had been damaged or destroyed.

St. Martin President Daniel Gibbs issued statement late Thursday afternoon, informing media that “most of our tourists are back in their homeland. A group of experts should arrive very soon on the island to realize an evaluation of the hotels, residences and guest houses to help in the rebuilt of the touristic infrastructures.”

And Hurricane Irma also did major damage to St. Martin’s sister island, the Dutch-Caribean island of St. Maarten. According a The Telegraph report from last weekthe hurricane destroyed the airport with rocks smashing into planes and passenger walkways being sent crashing onto the tarmac.

Turks and Caicos

Providenciales International Airport (PLS) re-opened for scheduled flights on Sept. 11.

Several of the hotel properties were scheduled for annual closure prior to Irma; some properties have now elected to remain closed, to assess any damage to their properties and looking to reopen by the beginning to middle of October.

U.S. Virgin Islands

Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas arrived in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on September 12 and was expected to depart Wednesday, September 13 at 6 p.m., taking residents and visitors to San Juan port. The American Red Cross and the Government of Puerto Rico are coordinating support on the ground in San Juan and are helping to rebook flights for passengers who will be arriving on Majesty of the Seas.

Norwegian Sky departed on Sept. 12 and is scheduled to arrive at PortMiami on Thursday afternoon.

The Virgin Islands Port Authority's (VIPA) Executive Director, David Mapp advised the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix is open and fully operational with American Airlines flights scheduled to resume as of September 12. The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas received extensive damage. CEKA is only open to emergency relief flights.VIPA is currently conducting assessments and cleanup, with a tentative date of Sept. 16 to resume daily commercial flights to St. Thomas.

All seaports on St. Croix are open and fully operational. There is currently no seaplane service available. VIPA will announce when service resumes. All seaports in the St. Thomas/St. John district are open. However, service between Cruz Bay, St. John and Red Hook, St. Thomas is limited to daylight hours only, according to the CTO. 

Visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more Hurricane Irma updates and be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.

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