Categorized | National News

Ministry of Tourism Prepares for Hurricane Irma

With nearly 4,000 visitors in Nassau/Paradise Island and just under 2,000 throughout the Family Islands, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (BMOT) crisis management team is closely monitoring Hurricane Irma and preparing to activate its command center as a hurricane watch is now in effect for the southeast Bahamas.

The crisis management team is comprised of various department heads within BMOT and key industry stakeholders including Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Bahamas Out-Island and Promotion Board (BOIPB), Grand Bahama Island Promotion Board (GBIPB), Bahamas Marina Association (BMA), Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), cruise lines, airlines and other relevant authorities.

Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu is leading that team, which meets regularly to assess the situation and make the necessary preparations.

“Our main objectives are to ensure the safety and security of the guests throughout the Islands of The Bahamas, protect The Bahamas’ reputation and secure the Mministry’s physical assets,” Mrs. Jibrilu said.

“We have many visitors right now, but unfortunately we may have to encourage them to leave in a timely manner depending on the trajectory of the storm and the islands that it will hit. Of course, all visitors do not necessarily leave and some wish to ride out the storm. The hotels have a very well established protocol to look after those visitors should they wish to stay. We are satisfied that the visitors will be well looked after and we remain in constant contact with all hotels on all islands during the storm.”

The majority of the visitors are expected to leave The Islands of The Bahamas by Thursday afternoon.  Based on reports from the various island administrators, there are currently no visitors on the islands of Inagua, Acklins, Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Long Cay, Samana Cay and Ragged Island where a hurricane watch is currently in effect.

During the storm, the tourism command center will serve as a communication center relaying information to the world about the state of affairs in The Bahamas. Team members will conduct task force conference calls to keep local and international agencies abreast of developments including the status of ports of entry. Family Island managers will also maintain regular contact with island administrators, local industry partners and the command center.

Silver Airways has cancelled all of its flights into The Islands of The Bahamas for Thursday, September 7 to Sunday, September 10. Additionally, there have been five cruise ship cancellations thus far.

Allure of the Seas: The September 3 sailing of Allure of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale will call at Cozumel, Falmouth and Labadee instead of Nassau, San Juan and St Maarten, as originally scheduled.

Carnival Glory: The seven-day September 2 sailing on Carnival Glory from Miami replaced Half Moon Cay with a sea day yesterday, September 3, and will continue with calls at Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Belize and Cozumel, instead of St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk.

Carnival Magic: The six-day September 3 sailing out of Port Canaveral on Carnival Magic will include a sea day today before making calls Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya, instead of Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.

Carnival Spendor: The six-day September 3 sailing of Carnival Splendor from Port Everglades includes a sea day today, followed by calls at Cozumel, Mahogany Bay (Roatan) and Belize, instead of Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk and Amber Cove.

Carnival Pride: The seven-day September 3 sailing of Carnival Pride from Baltimore will include a sea day today, followed by calls at Charleston, Freeport and Nassau, before resuming its original schedule of two consecutive sea days. The original itinerary featured four sea days and calls at Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay.

The Ministry of Tourism’s Crisis Management team will send out regular updates on the status of visitors and hotel properties until the ‘all clear’ is given for the entire Bahamas.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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