PHOTO courtesy of Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
When Hurricane Matthew roared through the Caribbean in early October it left widespread damage in its wake, dramatically impacting many islands and their inhabitants’ homes and livelihood.
Not surprisingly, the tourism infrastructure was also seriously impacted across much of the Caribbean.
While the force of the Category 5 storm’s strength was surprising, what was even more surprising was the fact that, overall, many islands – especially those in the Bahamas – sustained only minimal damage.
In fact, most are back to business as usual, even as they continue to clean up after the storm.
“We are welcoming visitors to many of our beautiful islands with open arms and are happy to report that the storm did not discourage travelers from taking their Bahamas vacations as planned. We continue to receive well wishes and inquiries from visitors who are eager to explore our destination,” said Joy Jibrilu, Director General of Tourism for The Islands of the Bahamas. “As the country begins to settle back into normalcy we will stand and assist with rebuilding exercises on the areas that are affected. Our industry partners, visitors and friends of The Bahamas are also offering to assist with our efforts to return the tourism industry to its full potential.”
Hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew were Andros and Grand Bahama, where recovery efforts are well underway. In fact, Andros recently played host to a 160-person wedding party, the first tourists to visit the island since Hurricane Matthew.
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Updates from other islands, include:
Abaco. The island’s resorts were left relatively unscathed with many either open or preparing to open as scheduled.
Berry Islands. No major damage reported.
Bimini. Minimal damage reported.
Exuma. Reports of minimal damage around the island to resorts, tourist attractions and properties.
Eleuthera. Beaches remain open and the Glass Window Bridge is intact.
Long Island. No reports of major damage to hotels and resorts.
New Providence. Despite some damage, many resorts are open.
Nassau. Dive and tour operators are already operational, and cruise ships are again making port.
San Salvador. Minimal damage has been reported. Hotels and resorts reported minor landscaping damage and are either already open for business or are preparing to open as scheduled.
Castaway Cay (Disney). Open and received Disney Dream passengers earlier this month.
Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian Cruise Lines). Unaffected by the storm as it was undergoing renovation.
CoCo Cay (Royal Caribbean). The island sustained primarily cosmetic damage and welcomed passengers back on Oct.15.
According to a statement from the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) “most properties throughout the Islands of the Bahamas suffered relatively minor damage, with the exception of properties in Grand Bahama and Andros. Most hotels in the Bahamas are open for business.”
To that end, the Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas scheduled its soft opening for Oct. 28, offering New Yorkers and Floridians special rates of $167 pp/night based on double occupancy on travel from Oct. 28 through Dec. 23, 2016. This new four-star, adults-only, all-inclusive resort features stunning views of Nassau and Paradise Island from its signature 10,000-square foot Warwick Sea Terrace, which also features an arrivals dock and expansive boardwalk. The 250-room resort also features an onsite, full-service spa and salon.