Tuesday, September 12, 2017
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) yesterday said reports to-date suggested most resort properties were left largely "unscathed" by Hurricane Irma.
Acknowledging that it had yet to receive official information from the hardest-hit islands, including those that were largely evacuated, the BHTA said its own reports - and those received by the Ministry of Tourism - from resorts in Nassau and other Family Islands described "beach erosion and minor damage to landscape" as the extent of the impact.
"Parts of the archipelago of the Bahamas have indeed been affected," said Carlton Russell, the BHTA's president. "However, overall we have fared extremely well, and for that we are grateful.
"We extend our heartfelt sympathies to those who suffered unimaginable loss and hardship due to Irma; those communities in the Caribbean and the US who have lost everything. The BHTA will be reaching out to ascertain how we can help those in need".
The BHTA worked closely with the Ministry of Tourism's Crisis Management Team, which was activated last week as Hurricane Irma approached the Bahamas.
The crisis management team features top executives from the Ministry; various island representatives from the Ministry; and key industry stakeholders such as the BHTA, Bahamas Out Islands Promotion Board (BOIPB), Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB), Association of Bahamas Marinas, the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), cruise lines, airlines and other relevant authorities.
The team continues to obtain data from tourism-related businesses throughout the Bahamas, including airport updates, information from the cruise lines as well as reports from hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses.
"We were pleased to be a part of what can be considered a formidable collaborative effort to prepare and react to the potential threat of Irma," said Mr Russell. "Now, we must collectively concentrate on getting back to the business of tourism, and helping our regional partners get back on their feet and on the road to recovery"