As Barbados and several other Eastern Caribbean islands successfully weather the passage of Tropical Storm Dorian, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) called attention to their governments’ and the tourism industry’s degree of preparedness.
While the storm system continues to impact parts of the region with wind and rainfall, Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of CHTA, lauded regional governments and the tourism industry for their level of preparedness and their timely informing of residents and visitors of the potential threats posed by the tropical system.
“We take weather in the region seriously – there is no mad scramble, but at the same time, there’s no resting on laurels,” said Comito. He commended leaders in Barbados and St. Lucia for their commonsense approach, effective communications, emergency management, as well as their continuing investment in infrastructure and upgrades to hotel properties.
“Thankfully, there was little negative impact from the storm. Airports, which were closed as required when sustained winds reach 40 knots, are reopened, and the few countries impacted in the Eastern Caribbean are again resuming their warm embrace of visitors to the islands,” said Comito, who stressed that when one part of the region is impacted by weather, it does not affect the tourism experience in other parts of the region.
He reminded the media and the travelling public that the 33 countries and independently governed territories in the Caribbean span a distance from east to west that is equal to that from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and the range from north to south is equal to the distance from Canada to Miami. “There are absolutely sunny skies across most of our region, and we declare unequivocally that the region is open for business,” he said.
As the tropical storm moves across the region in the days ahead, Comito encouraged other countries and territories to remain vigilant, while reminding the travelling public to monitor weather reports before they travel. He called on travellers to monitor airline schedules, as some may be adjusted to account for the storm but should be quickly rescheduled if affected.
CHTA works with the industry throughout the year on readiness plans, providing recommended guidelines for hotel cancellations in the event of a storm, sharing useful guides for readiness planning, insurance planning, communications practices, and joining with partners like Tropical Shipping in conducting readiness training each spring.