CTO State of the Tourism Industry: The Latest Post-Hurricane Caribbean Updates

Atlantis, Paradise Island
This year's conference is taking place at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

At the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), islands across the Caribbean provided the latest updates regarding their recovery from last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The conference is taking place October 1 – 5 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Here are the latest updates:

Dominica

Dominica is reporting a 57 percent availability of hotel rooms as of July 31, 2018, the resumption of all flights to the country, including night landing, and the return of the cruise sector.

Discover Dominica Authority CEO Colin Piper also pointed to a number of investments in the pipeline, including 470 hotel rooms to be phased in by 2020.

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands is also reporting tremendous progress in its recovery efforts. In fact, Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus said that by the end of this year about 75 percent of the territory’s inventory should be back up.

She said the BVI is in high demand, while highlighting the increase in cruise ship arrivals, since the hurricane.

Antigua & Barbuda

Minister of Tourism and Investment Charles Fernandez said a year after Hurricane Irma hammered the tiny island of Barbuda, things are looking up.

He announced that a new ferry service had been introduced while pointing out that more focus will be placed on the marketing of the non-traditional areas, as well as environmental tourism.

“That is something we think augers well for Barbuda,” he said, adding that a number of new proprieties were in the pipeline, including the construction of a Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

St. Maarten/St Martin

St. Maarten/St Martin is on the rebound, with 30 hotels and inns having reopened since Hurricane Irma hit the island, according to Alex Pierre, vice president of the French St. Martin tourism office.

He said 21 out of 26 airlines which serviced the destination are back and the cruise port has welcomed more than 600,000 passengers through May 31, 2018, since its reopening.

Puerto Rico

Some 135 hotels are now operational, and the country expects a record growth in inventory next year, said Brad Dean, chief executive officer of Discover Puerto Rico.

Dean also said 4,000 restaurants and shopping areas have since reopened.

CTO member countries which were not affected by last year’s hurricanes also reported growth, including Barbados, Belize, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Saint Lucia, all announced different initiatives to continue the growth in tourist arrival figures.

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