Dominica: six months after Hurricane Maria

By | Category: Travel destinations

one of the images of Dominica just after the hurrican

Often mainstream media reports a natural disaster like a hurricane and as soon as the hurricane moves away or dies so does the story. But the effects linger much longer than you might expect.

Last October, Just about Travel, ran a story showing what Dominica was like a month after Hurricane Maria. Today we return to the theme to show what Dominica is like six months after Maria in order to demonstrate that it takes a long while to recover from such a disaster. Six months may not be long in the scheme of things but is an eternity when your livelihood depends on normality.

The tourist board, the Discover Dominica Authority, says that significant progress in getting the island ready for guests has been made. That doesn’t yet mean that all is as it was.  For example, the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau has managed to re-open half of the rooms in the hotel. The others are still being worked on.

The airports came into use quite quickly after Mari. Both Douglas Charles and Canefield airports provide connections to eleven destinations throughout the Caribbean enabling British passengers to connect at places like St Lucia and Barbados to fly on to Dominica. The night landing restriction has been lifted so that now planes can land as late as 8pm and, in exceptional circumstances, 10pm

one of the bungalows at night for tourists to stay in. Accommodation had been badly hit by Hurricane Maria

The fast ferry links to Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia have been running for months.

It is where accommodation is concerned that the effects of Maria are noteable. Even after six months just 393 hotel/guest house rooms are available which is only 41% of the rom stock that was available prior to Maria.  Calibishie Cove and Citrus Creek Planation are expected to reopen in the last quarter of 2018 with two additional properties, Jungle Bay Resort and Cabrits Resort Kempinski, expecting to open during the first half of 2019 and Anichi Resort late in 2019.  The opening of these three hotels will increase Dominica’s room stock by 340.

Nineteen of the twenty-three attractions of the island have re-opened including Trafalgar Falls, Middleham Falls, Emerald Pool, Fresh Water Lake and the Indian River. Easy to moderate hikes across the island including, Syndicate Nature Trail, Cabrits/Fort Shirley and others are also up and running as are diving tours with six dive operators offering dive tours back up and running.

Sea Cloud II anchored off Portsmouth in Dominica last December

Cruising is vital to the Caribbean economy and, prior to Maria, Dominica was scheduled to receive 219 cruise calls during the 2017-2018 cruise season. Now it is just 34 calls with the first of those vessels, Sea Cloud II, visiting on December the 28th last year.  Since then the island has received an additional 16 cruise calls. Carnival Cruises is expected to make a total of five visits, commencing with three in July, 2018.

In mid-February, the country celebrated Carnival and plans for the 9th Annual Jazz ‘n Creole on May 20th are underway. Last year the World Creole Music Festival was cancelled. This year’s event will be held from October 26th -28th followed by the island’s 40th Anniversary of Independence celebration on November 3, 2018.

As you can see, recovery takes a while and where cruise lines are concerned, even longer. But the island is back up and running and now needs you to help out by holidaying there.

Images ©. Discover Dominica Authority

 

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