After the damage dealt by Hurricane Irma in September, WIMCO Villas reports that St. Barts is now “open for business” for the upcoming holiday season. WIMCO’s 370 private villas in St. Barths will be available for rent following the reopening of key facilities on its property and the surrounding area.
It has been a steady road to recovery for the French Caribbean island, which has been restoring essential services, cleaning up roads and beaches, and repairing homes and businesses since the hurricane passed through.
To declare St. Barts “open for business,” WIMCO established five milestones required to ensure a safe and comfortable vacation for guests. These are:
- Essential services like electricity and water had to be restored to private villas and businesses, and grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies had to be reopened. On Oct. 2, these requirements were met.
- The beaches had to be cleaned up and reopened for swimming. On Oct. 6, The Collectivité of St. Barts announced that swimming is allowed at public bays, Lorient, Shell Beach, and the western part of St. Jean Bay.
- A critical number of restaurants had to declare they would reopen by Dec. 15, including at least two beach-front restaurants. The Collectivité reports that 49 restaurants have declared they will be open for the holidays, including two beach-front properties - Shellona and La Plage.
- The “feeder” airports for St. Barts in San Juan and St. Martin had to be reopened, along with the resumption of inter-island service from Tradewind Aviation, Win-Air, and St. Bart Commuter. Those milestones were met on October 1 and October 10 respectively for San Juan and St Martin.
- A critical number of private villas had to be scheduled to reopen and fully operational by Dec. 15, which WIMCO can now confirm.
With these milestones met, WIMCO determined that St. Barts had recovered enough to provide guests the safety and comfort they expect. Though optimistic about the impressive progress, WIMCO president Stiles Bennet reminded travelers that the island has not been completely restored and some facilities remain closed.
For more on the progress of St. Barths, WIMCO has created a website that lists the status of essential services on the island, found here: http://www.wimco.com/vacation-travel-reviews-and-blog.aspx?target=/hurricane-updates/