Tour Operators: Hurricane Dean Didn't Hurt Business

Travel Agent hears that many U.S. operators sending clients to the Caribbean reported Hurricane Dean had very little, if any, impact on business since the storm first struck last week. According to operators, many clients changed their vacation dates as soon as hurricane warnings were issued, most rebooking for different dates. Some still decided to fly and the ones who flat out cancelled will most likely book through the same operator when they do decide to commit to another date, says John Hanratty, chief marketing officer for Travel Impressions. Travel Impressions had about 2,000 clients whose Caribbean vacations were affected, Hanratty says. Of those, one-third rebooked immediately. The remainder was either already in the Caribbean, covered under travel insurance and rebooked another trip when they got back

"As long as everything goes smoothly, if you have travel insurance in place and if the operator has a good team handling all concerns, the clients will come back to you," he said.

It's back to vacation today for the more than 3,000 Apple Vacations' passengers who remained in the Yucatan throughout Dean, with more passengers are on the way. Eight Apple Vacations' charter flights from various gateways were set to take off for Cancun International Airport on Wednesday morning and a full flight schedule resumes on Thursday. "We didn't really see much of an effect at all," Apple Vacations' Senior Vice President Tim Mullen told Travel Agent. "Many of the big destinations we send clients to were able to escape with little damage. So everything is back to normal."

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