Week in Review: Tropical Storm Franklin and Maui Updates

Tropical Storm Franklin hit the island of Hispaniola this week, bringing heavy rain and flooding to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Nearby islands, including Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos, also felt some of the effects of the storm.

According to the latest from The Weather Channel, Franklin is currently north of Hispaniola and east of Turks and Caicos. That said, the storm is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as is moves north off the coast of the United States. While it isn’t expected to make landfall in the U.S., Franklin could pass just west of Bermuda by late Monday/early Tuesday of next week. In addition, The Weather Channel reports that “Atlantic Canada should also keep a close eye on Franklin,” as the storm could still cross parts of Nova Scotia or Newfoundland.

Effects in the U.S. in the coming days could include dangerous beach conditions, in particular from North Carolina to New England.

Maui Updates

Maui restricted area map

Earlier this week, Hawaii Governor Josh Green noted the importance of travel to Maui, outside of the restricted areas. “Like we saw in the pandemic, decisions we made can affect everyone across the islands. So. what we’re saying now is travel should not be to West Maui. But the other parts of Maui are safe. And the rest of the state, of course, is also safe.” he said.

The restricted area includes Lahaina, while hotels in Nāpili, Kā‘anapali and Kapalua are temporarily not accepting reservations. Areas open to tourism include Wailea, Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Mākena, Pāʻia and Hāna, as well as the other Hawaiian Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island.

Major U.S. airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, have waivers in place for those with planned travel to Hawaii.

In addition, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort will host "Aloha For Maui," a benefit concert with 100 percent of entry ticket sales going directly to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund. The event will take place on Saturday, September 2, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., bringing together Na Hōkū Hanohano award-winning artists Sean Cleland, Sean Na’auao and Natural Vibrations as they unite in support of Maui relief efforts and community healing. Tickets cost $20.

New in Central America

Delta Hotels by Marriott Riviera Nayarit, An All-Inclusive Resort has unveiled a “Aqua Jungle & River” experience as well an additional wing for rooms and suites as part of its planned expansion. The “Aqua Jungle & River” experience offers both adult and family offerings: There are five jacuzzis for adults, seven pools, an elongated lazy river and two children’s areas with water slides and splash amenities, besides F&B venues. Accommodations have increased from 117 to 212.

Colima 71

In Mexico City, Colima 71 has opened its doors in the bohemian-chic district of Colonia Roma Norte. The 16 studios offer bespoke design with either floor-to-ceiling windows or private balconies overlooking Colima Street or the hotel’s courtyard. All rooms have a king-sized bed outfitted with Portuguese bedding, a full kitchen and a dining area.

In Belize, Muy’Ono Resorts has added Slickrock Belize Adventures, an all-inclusive adventure eco-lodge located on a private island at the outer reef of Glover’s Reef Atoll, to its portfolio. The eco-lodge has beachfront cabanas with porches, hammocks and lounge chairs that allow guests to enjoy views of the Caribbean Sea. Popular activities include snorkeling, surfing, paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking and fishing.

Pretty cool: The eco-lodge operations are 100 percent sustainable, using renewable energy, rainwater catchment systems, natural ventilation in lieu of air-conditioning and more.

Travel and Tourism’s Recovery

According to World Travel & Tourism Council's (WTTC) "Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2023 Global Trends Report," the GDP contribution of the U.S. travel and tourism sector grew by 16.9 percent in 2022, reaching $2 trillion. Forecasting for this year, WTTC forecasts the sector’s GDP contribution will reach $2.2 trillion and that job numbers will total 17.4 million. In addition, data from ForwardKeys revealed a 13 percent increase in forward-looking U.S. outbound travel, with Greece, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Jamaica and Mexico all seeing increases ranging from 30 percent to 63 percent.

At the same time, Airlines Reporting Corp.’s recently released data shows July 2023 sales were up 11 percent year-over-year to $7.6 billion. July sales were bolstered by a 16 percent year-over-year increase in international passenger trips and a 7 percent increase in U.S. domestic passenger trips settled through ARC. For the year through July, total fares are 23.6 percent higher than 2022 and total passenger trips are up 10.72 percent, showing the strength of the travel industry’s recovery.

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