The Latest Updates From the Caribbean Islands Affected by Hurricanes

Anguilla
Anguilla. // Photo by Joe Pike

Travel Agent recently sat in on the Caribbean Tourism Organization's (CTO) series of press briefings conducted by tourism officials from Caribbean islands impacted by last year's hurricane season.

Here are the highlights. 

Anguilla

Alison Ross, senior vice president of the Anguilla Tourist Board for North America, says Anguilla is open for business. In fact, the island’s airport actually reopened within a week of Hurricane Irma’s passage, followed by the opening of the island’s two most important gateways, San Juan and St. Maarten.

Ross says ferry services are operating on their regular schedules from Blowing Point to both the Dutch and French sides of St. Maarten/St. Martin. However, Anguilla did lose its Blowing Point ferry terminal, but plans are in place for a brand new facility, which is a welcome development for the island, says Ross. For now, both visitors and residents are being processed through the police station at Blowing Point, and the police station at Simpson Bay in St. Maarten.

Electricity was restored island wide before Christmas, along with cellular and internet service. Anguilla’s roads and beaches are cleared, gas stations, pharmacies, hospitals, supermarkets are all open and children have been back in school since November.

Ross says the island currently has about 1,200 hotel rooms available on island, along with a wide selection of villas, boutique hotels and apartment rentals. Ross also noted that roughly 90 percent of our restaurants are back in operation, along with most of our attractions.

St. Maarten/St. Martin

Airlift into St Maarten has been reduced, but service is gradually being restored. JetBlue currently has daily service from New York; American operates daily from Miami, and Delta flies three times a week from Atlanta, and United has weekly service from Newark. The public ferry service to Marigot Bay in St. Martin operates every 45 minutes, with 14 trips a day.

According to St. Marin tourism officials, most hotels were destroyed, but about 200 hotel rooms are now available, with 500-600 rooms expected to be open by December and a total of 700 expected to be open by the end of the year.

Antigua and Barbuda 

Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, said it will cost a total of roughly $250 million to fully repair the island of Barbuda, which was arguably the hardest hit island during last year’s hurricane seasons. On a positive note, however, James says that "Antigua is 100 percent opened for business -  all restaurants, all tourism products, all attractions."

Visit www.onecaribbean.org and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.

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