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The Latest Updates From the Caribbean Islands Affected by Hurricanes

From Travel Agent Central (By Joe Pike / photo credit Joe Pike)

Posted: May 31, 2018

The Latest Updates From the Caribbean Islands Affected by Hurricanes

Travel Agent Magazine recently sat in on the Caribbean Tourism Organization's (CTO) series of press briefings conducted by tourism officials from Caribbean islands impacted by last year's hurricane season.

Here are the highlights.

Anguilla

Alison Ross, senior vice president of the Anguilla Tourist Board for North America, says Anguilla is open for business. In fact, the island’s airport actually reopened within a week of Hurricane Irma’s passage, followed by the opening of the island’s two most important gateways, San Juan and St. Maarten.

Ross says ferry services are operating on their regular schedules from Blowing Point to both the Dutch and French sides of St. Maarten/St. Martin. However, Anguilla did lose its Blowing Point ferry terminal, but plans are in place for a brand new facility, which is a welcome development for the island, says Ross. For now, both visitors and residents are being processed through the police station at Blowing Point, and the police station at Simpson Bay in St. Maarten.

Electricity was restored island wide before Christmas, along with cellular and internet service. Anguilla’s roads and beaches are cleared, gas stations, pharmacies, hospitals, supermarkets are all open and children have been back in school since November.

Ross says the island currently has about 1,200 hotel rooms available on island, along with a wide selection of villas, boutique hotels and apartment rentals. Ross also noted that roughly 90 percent of our restaurants are back in operation, along with most of our attractions.

St. Maarten/St. Martin

Airlift into St Maarten has been reduced, but service is gradually being restored. JetBlue currently has daily service from New York; American operates daily from Miami, and Delta flies three times a week from Atlanta, and United has weekly service from Newark. The public ferry service to Marigot Bay in St. Martin operates every 45 minutes, with 14 trips a day.

According to St. Marin tourism officials, most hotels were destroyed, but about 200 hotel rooms are now available, with 500-600 rooms expected to be open by December and a total of 700 expected to be open by the end of the year.

Antigua and Barbuda

Colin James, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, said it will cost a total of roughly $250 million to fully repair the island of Barbuda, which was arguably the hardest hit island during last year’s hurricane seasons. On a positive note, however, James says that "Antigua is 100 percent opened for business - all restaurants, all tourism products, all attractions."

Visit www.onecaribbean.org and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.




Despite Volcano Eruptions, You Can Still Honeymoon in Hawaii!

Effects of the Volcano are in a limited area on the Big Island

Posted: May 22, 2018

Despite Volcano Eruptions, You Can Still Honeymoon in Hawaii!

A few weeks ago, the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island began erupting and lava began flowing into areas outside of Volcanos National Park.

While the eruption has been major news and the images and videos dramatic, it's important to understand that the areas impacted on the Big Island are limited to lower Puna. This lava activity is in a remote area not generally visited by tourists and is approximately 100 miles from the Kohala and Kona Coast.

Air quality on the Kona Coast is good and the airport and hotels are operating normally.

During this time, most of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park remains closed due to ongoing seismic activity, summit deflation, and a possible steam explosion at the summit of K?lauea Volcano. However, there are plenty of amazing and beautiful places to hike, snorkel and explore on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The other islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Kauai are not impacted by the volcano.