Rebounding in the Irma Aftermath
Hurricane Irma was the most intense tropical storm to strike the United States since 2005’s Katrina. The ramifications of its devastation are sure to be felt for years to come. However, businesses in the Caribbean and Florida are hoping to dispel the notion that they are no longer functional. Having moved through the worst of the damage, the outlook is a positive one for them and they urge that tourists should not fear visiting the area.
In fact, a report this week from Meliá Hotels International made it clear that its accommodations in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Orlando and Miami are already 100% operational. The rebound has been amazingly quick for not only the Spanish hotel chain but word from The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism reports that the islands are “getting back to business” in major tourists areas.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) issued a statement on Tuesday telling travelers they weathered the storm with clean-up well underway. Though some businesses remain without power, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades have reopened and cruise ships formally delayed by the storm are departing once again.
“We expect to be back to normal operations and welcoming vacationers and scheduled meetings and conference attendees shortly,” said Stacey Ritter, president and CEO of the CVB.
Meliá supported efforts in the hurricanes wake by helping transfer customers in more affected areas like Los Cayos to safer tourist centres and cities such as Camagüey, Varadero, Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos. According to hotel representatives “impeccable implementation of evacuation protocols” were followed to ensure the well-being of their patrons.
While hotels in Havana, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Cayo Largo are fully operational, the reality is that more assessment is needed in place hit harder by Irma.
“Regarding the situation at Los Cayos, it is too soon to make evaluations until we have a proper inventory, but the Company intends to begin operations in Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Santa María as soon as possible, with hotels less affected,” said a press release from Meliá.
Hotels in Varadero sustained minor damages but are now operating normally. In cases where major repairs are needed, the chain says they are expecting these to be completed by the time the beginning of the peak season rolls around.
“From Meliá Hotels International we want to emphasize the professionalism and commitment of our collaborators in all these destinations, and the excellent coordination exercised by the Authorities, to guarantee at all times the information, security, and maximum possible comfort of our clients and employees.”