Saturday snippets: September 23rd 2017

By | Category: Travel news
Minnie & Micky Mouse

the theme parks are open again in Orlando/Kissimmee

The Caribbean, Florida and Mexico have been affected by hurricanes or earthquakes recently. As such tourism has been severely affected in certain places but by no means all. Today’s snippets column will largely concentrate on what is open and what is not.

Starting with the US state of Florida, any damage or disruption has largely been minimal. Real-time travel safety updates are on Florida Now.  The two airports in the Orlando region are open for business and regular flights have resumed. Visit Florida is launching a campaign saying that the state is open for business. At the time of writing it looks as though Hurricane Maria will miss the state entirely. Major theme parks were briefly closed but are all open and October half-term holidays won’t be affected by the effects of Hurricane Irma. For information go to VisitOrlando.com/Open.

Elsewhere in Florida, Daytona Beach is back to normal and its largest Autumn festival, Biketoberfest on October 19th and 20th will run as will the Daytona Blues Festival. The Florida Keys were affected, the main port at key west has re-opened but the local organisations are looking at October 20th for the general resumption of tourism.

Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, on the other hand, has been severely impacted with a complete loss of power on the island. The governor says that rebuilding and returning to a normal way of life will take some time. the Mayor of San Juan says it could be six months. British Airways operate a direct flight to the capital, San Juan. Check with them if you have flights booked in the next few weeks.

The US Virgin Islands were also badly affected and a 24 hour curfew operates. The authorities are discouraging tourists from going there in the short term at least. One island, St Croix, has no power at all. For more information, go to www.usviupdate.com

The British Virgin Islands have been extensively damaged and the advice by the Foreign Office is against travelling there.

Barbuda (part of Antigua and Barbuda) was badly hit by Hurricane Irma with virtually every building damaged. The island has been evacuated. Tourism offerings are non-existent at the present so contact your tour operator or travel agent if you have a booking there. Antigua is unaffected although there is the additional strain on resources as they set about restoring Barbuda to normality.

In Mexico the main impact of the earthquake has been on Mexico City. The airport there has re-opened for those hubbing there on the way to the main tourist destinations which are unaffected by events.  The Latin American Travel Association says that the country’s most popular tourist destinations including Cancun, Yucatan, Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos are ‘completely unaffected.’

St Maarten was severely affected by Hurricane Maria and flights in and out are limited. The port was affected so cruise ships are affected.

one of the images of Dominica supplied by the tourist office there

Dominica has also been substantially damaged in certain areas.  Robert Tonge, the tourism minister has said that much of the country has seen heavy damage with many roofs being blown off in the winds. The airfield at Canefield is out of action for an unspecified time but that at Marigot is expected to open shortly. Both Portsmouth and Mahaut has suffered the loss of 95% of the rooves on buildings. There is severe flooding in places such as Coulibistrie and Colihaut. Wesley, Atkinson are badly damaged and the same is supposed for Rosalie and Morne Jaune since the authorities can’t contact the areas. The main airport is closed and the Foreign Office is recommending against travel there.

The Turks & Caicos are in the path of Hurricane Maria but some hope it will just be the north that will be affected.  They were badly hit by Hurricane Irma and there has been little time to clear the mess before Maria hits on late Friday/Saturday UK time.

Anguilla, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines are unaffected and there should be minimal disruption. St Kitts and Nevis had comparatively minimal disruption and the airport is open.

Jamaican beach

jamaica remains unaffected

If you are planning to holiday in the Caribbean in the next few weeks check with you tour operator. Some are allowing transfers to other destinations. But the Foreign Office has said that it may have difficulties in assisting holidaymakers and those in the worst affected areas because their own facilities have been damaged. Their website is https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice  and should be the first port of call to find out the current status. I have been getting over a dozen e-mails a day from them since Irma was first spotted giving me updates on the situation. Between them, the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Latin American Tourist Association are responsible for much of the information available here.

Finally let me end on a sour note. It has been rumoured that scammers are already preparing e-mails purporting to come from those organisations which have set up donation screens encouraging people to help those affected. Before thinking of donating any money, check that the e-mails are genuine and the organisations do exist.

 

 

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