June 17, 2021


Travel-Lickin' Good

The Caribbean gears up for yet another busy hurricane year: Journey Weekly

Gay Nagle Myers

Gay Nagle Myers

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane year, which begins these days, will be an a further lively a person with 6 to 10 hurricanes expected out of 13 to 20 named tropical storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

3 to 5 hurricanes could become significant Group 3 or bigger storms with wind speeds over 111 mph.

This is the good information: this period is just not expected to be really as negative as 2020, which observed 30 named storms, 14 of which had been hurricanes and a record-breaking 7 were being major hurricanes. In fact there were so numerous storms that the alphabet of storm names ran out and the Greek alphabet was employed for the last 9 units. (That has considering the fact that been banned mainly because the names confused most individuals.)

“Problems are prime for a hectic season,” mentioned Dr. Athena Masson, a meteorologist with Florida Community Radio Crisis Network.

Masson was a single of quite a few panelists on a the latest Caribbean Tourism Firm webinar to discuss the Caribbean’s point out of readiness for hurricane time even while Covid-19 proceeds to pose a hazard.

Is the Caribbean geared up to fight both equally Covid and hurricanes at the exact same time?

“We have to be ready. We are unable to command Mother Nature, but we can handle our readiness and our reaction,” explained Frank Comito, previous CEO and director of the Caribbean Lodge and Travel Affiliation, who now is serving as unique advisor to the firm.

Comito emphasised that “we require to be in a position to transfer and respond rapidly. Travel to the area is finding up now, as most places have reopened with regulations and protocols that fluctuate from island to island. With an energetic hurricane period on us, it truly is even more critical that inns and resorts have options firmly in spot for evacutions of company, if vital, and with a stockpile of Covid supplies: masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and adequte shelter websites within just the motels if evacuation is not doable.”

He pointed out that most qualities already have set apart isolation rooms in situation a visitor develops Covid signs while at the vacation resort.

Organizations these kinds of as CHTA, CTO and lodge associations now collaborate nicely before the official start out of the time with regards to communications during and after a storm hits, receiving airlift into the islands to evacuate visitors prior to a storm’s arrival, activating relief and immediate response teams speedily and aiding in destruction assessments.

Both equally the CTO and CHTA have hurricane readiness manuals for member countries and houses that include things like evacuation program specifics, checklists of pre-time supplies and information on protected locations for friends within hotels or close by shelters.

Most lodges and resorts offer hurricane cancellation insurance policy
guidelines in the celebration a storm delays or cancels guests’ arrivals or
shortens their continue to be.

“The Caribbean is faced with raising cases of Covid, and we have to mitigate the distribute by continuing with public well being limitations these types of as masks, hand sanitizers, social distancing and promoting vaccinations,” said Dr. Lisa Indar, director of surveillance condition prevention and manage for CARPHA, the Caribbean Public Wellbeing Company. As a consequence of the significant storms in latest years, accommodations are rebuilding more powerful structures and positioning properties so that they are not squarely in the encounter of prevailing winds.

And the bounceback is a lot quicker. “Twenty yrs in the past it took three to four decades to get better and rebound
from a key hurricane,” Comito mentioned. “With hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, several
of the poorly hit islands recovered in two yrs.”

Comito reiterated a issue that is created in the course of every hurricane year, “I beg all the meteorologists and weather conditions people on  television to glance at a map prior to they report that the Caribbean has been hit by a hurricane. Master the variance between Barbuda and Bermuda. Do not lump the whole region together when just a single or two islands have taken the brunt of the storm. Know your geography,” he explained.