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Dominica Post Hurricane Maria Update

Roseau Dominica – (October 18, 2017) – Dominica was severely impacted by category 5 Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017. Assessment of the country’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and sites and attractions continues.  Updated information from daily press briefings are accessible at http://www.opm.gov.dm/.  Following is an update on island services:

Current Status

Dominica has classified this new period post Maria as one of relief, recovery and rebuilding.  The positive news is that many areas, communities and families are now moving from the relief phase to recovery. Restoration and repair of some services has begun. The Government led rebuilding phase will focus on incorporating best practices that ensure Dominica will be better able to withstand future acts of nature.

  • Main roadways have been cleared and damage is still being assessed.
  • Over 275 tons of food and 45,000 gallons of water have been distributed to over 93 communities.
  • All banks, some businesses and government offices are now open for business in the city.
  • The Ministry of Education is working to have 23 schools reopened by October 18, 2017. Many schools will reopen in their original buildings, while others will operate on a shift system or in an alternate location.

Travel

  • Most roads are safe for driving and motorists are advised to proceed with caution in certain areas.
  • LIAT Airlines and Seaborne have resumed commercial flights to Dominica and are operating at a limited capacity.
  • Seaborne Airlines began commercial flights to/from Dominica on October 11, 2017. Flights depart San Juan, Puerto Rico at 12:45 pm and depart Dominica 3:00 pm daily. For additional details, visit https://www.seaborneairlines.com/
  • LIAT Airlines will operate commercial flights as follows:
    • Return flight to Antigua (LI624) will operate on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday departing Antigua  at 11:30am and  Dominica at 1:10pm;
    • Return flight to Barbados (LI601) will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departing Barbados at 10am and Dominica at noon.

This schedule will run until November 7th when the airline will update its schedule.

For additional details, visit http://www.liat.com/ or call the Call Centre at 1-888-844-5428

  • L’Express des Iles ferry service is operating to Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia from the Roseau Ferry Terminal.  The ferry travels the Martinique /St Lucia route on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays departing Dominica at 10:30 am and on Saturdays at 3 pm.  Service to Guadeloupe from Dominica is at 11:30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and at 9:15 am on Saturdays.  For additional information, please visit http://www.express-des-iles.com/index.cfm?lng=en .

Accommodation

  • Prior to Hurricane Maria, Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) had on record of seventy-three (73) properties / nine hundred and nine (909) guest rooms. As of October 17, 2017, sixty-four (64) of these properties have been reassessed for hurricane damage.  Assessments show that thirty-two (32) properties are moderately damaged and able to operate now or in the near future.
  • Twenty seven (27) properties have been severely damaged or destroyed, with serious to total destruction of structures including roofs, electrical and plumbing. Wi-Fi  is not available in most cases.

The properties that suffered moderate damage account for fifty one percent (51.4%) of the total room stock or four hundred and sixty-seven (467) guestrooms.

Tourist Activity

  • Most natural sites have been assessed.  Access roads to these sites have been damaged and consequently tourist sites and natural attractions are currently closed until repair work is complete.
  • Overall 35% of reefs at dive sites were damaged, particularly sponges and softer corals above 45 feet. Currently all nine dive operators are closed for business and most will not be operational before January 2018. Upon resumption the number of dives per day will be reduced to ease the strain on the fragile reefs.  Kindly check in with your dive shop for more details.

Utilities

  • The Dominica Water and Sewage Company (DOWASCO) has restored drinking water supply to 55% of its network and work is ongoing to restore pipe borne water to other communities.
  • The Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC) has restored electricity to parts of the capital city Roseau, Portsmouth and are continuing restoration of electricity to other communities.
  • Mobile phone service providers FLOW and Digicel have restored access to their mobile networks to a number of communities.  FLOW has restored 21 of its 49 mobile sites and land line phone service has been restored to parts of Roseau, Canefield, St. Joseph, Portsmouth, Morne Daniel, Mahaut and Pond Cassee.  Digicel has restored mobile service to communities in the north, south and west as well as Roseau, Portsmouth and environs.

Relief Operations

  • Relief efforts are being coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister through the Emergency Organizing Committee.
  • Detailed information on relief operations can be found at www.opm.gov.dm.

While some of our accommodations and sites have been damaged by hurricane Maria, our welcoming spirit has not been deterred. Many within the hospitality sector have regrouped and welcome voluntourism visitors.  If you are interested in such a visit to Dominica kindly contact our office.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 1-767- 448-2045; or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and watch our videos on YouTube.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News, Uncategorized

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Arrivals to Belize Continue Steady Growth Path

Overnight Arrivals

Belize City October 16th, 2017– For the first 9 months of 2017, the tourism arrivals continue to show a positive trend. The latest statistics show there was a 7.9% increase in Overnight arrivals in the month of September, representing an increase of over 1,400 visitors. In September 2017, arrivals through the International Airport increased only slightly, as the number of incoming flights were impacted by the threat of storms in the region in the early part of the month. An increase in the arrival of visitors thru the land borders in Northern and Western Belize assisted in these gains during September. The cumulative overnight arrival increase was 8.6% through the first 9 months of the year.

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Rainforest Adventures St. Maarten Announces November 2017 Opening

PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN (October 17, 2017) – Rainforest Adventures has announced a November 2017 opening for the new St. Maarten Rockland Estate eco-park. The park will launch with two signature attractions, The Flying Dutchman — the world’s steepest zip line — and the Soualiga Sky Explorer chairlift, as well as the Emilio Wilson Museum and Emilio’s Restaurant. Additional attractions, including the Sentry Hill Zip Line and the Schooner Ride will open in early 2018.

In partnership with the St. Maarten delegation, representatives of Rockland Estate will be attending the 24th Annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show in Merida, Mexico, October 23 – October 27, 2017. They will be at booth B2 and welcome an opportunity to answer questions about, or introduce participants to, what is sure to be the eastern Caribbean’s must-do attraction.

According to Port St. Maarten’s management the eco-park will be a major new attraction and they are proud of the progress the team has made to open the park. They stress how important it is to have stakeholders like Rainforest Adventures and others to be present with them at the FCCA Conference to promote the destination and strongly emphasize the message that St. Maarten is back and open.

“We are very proud and thankful to our engineering and construction teams, their hard work and expertise certainly reduced the damage incurred as a consequence of the hurricane,” says Shaydar Edelmann, General Manager of Rockland Estate. “The people of St. Maarten have come together in strength to restore and rebuild, reestablish the tourism product and kick-start the recovery of our Friendly Island.”

Princess Juliana International Airport has opened to commercial flights and Port St. Maarten is ready to welcome its first commercial cruise vessel on November 5th. Restaurant and attraction businesses are reopening daily and are ready to receive guests.

Opening November 2017 at Rainforest Adventures’ Rockland Estate Eco-Park  

  • The Soualiga Sky Explorer, a four-passenger chairlift, transports guests to the Upper Deck. These decks encircle the mountaintop, one of St. Maarten’s highest points at 1,115 feet, where they will be immersed in spectacular 360-degree views of St. Maarten and its neighboring islands.
  • The Flying Dutchman, the world’s steepest zipline, where guests will experience the thrill of a lifetime as they launch down Sentry Hill on a flight line at 56 mph dropping 1050 feet in elevation over 2630 feet.
  • Each adventure begins in the Emilio Wilson Museum housed in a restored plantation house originally built in the 1700s. Guests will see depictions of what life was like on a plantation and learn about the customs, traditions, lifestyle, and stories that earned Sint Maarten the nickname ‘The Friendly Island’.
  • Emilio’s Restaurant, Maarten’s newest restaurant and entertainment hot spot.

For more information and bookings email [email protected], visit www.rainforestadventure.com/st-maarten or call toll-free from North America at +1.866.SKYTRAM (1.886.759.8726). Follow us @rainforestadventuresxm on Facebook and Instagram.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts: Every Hotel, Every Room, Every Day

Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 2, 2017) – In conjunction with the launch of its brand new official website on September 28, St. Kitts is pleased to declare that it’s “Time to Lime” with a limited time special offer providing up to 40% off hotel stays during peak travel season.

“While we continue to send thoughts, prayers and aid to our Caribbean neighbors who have been severely impacted by Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria, we are also grateful to be relatively unscathed as we approach our traditional peak season,”said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “Our new offer and website are both designed to inform potential guests that we are open and welcoming visitors while enticing them to book a trip to St. Kitts in the coming months.”

This special offer provides savings to visitors, whether they want to go scuba diving, play golf, experience adventure, enjoy a girls or guys getaway, or take a family vacation or a couples escape in St. Kitts. To receive the discounted rate, hotel reservations must be booked by October 29, 2017 for stays between December 15, 2017 and March 31, 2018. To learn more and to book, simply visit the Special Offers page on our new website www.stkittstourism.kn and click through on “Time to Lime” or go directly to http://www.stkittstourism.kn/promotions/island-wide-savings.

The offer is valid on new bookings only and may not be combinable with other promotional offers or programs. Blackout dates, additional restrictions and other terms and conditions may apply, so potential guests are advised to check with their hotel of choice prior to booking.

 

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St. Kitts Launches New Website

Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 28, 2017) – St. Kitts is pleased to announce the launch of its brand new official website, effective as of today. Created in keeping with the latest trends in technology, the new www.stkittstourism.kn website features a mobile-first design reflective of how people research and book their travel today as well as immersive photo and video content and an improved user experience overall.

“While we continue to send our thoughts, prayers and aid to our Caribbean brothers and sisters, who have been severely impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, we are also grateful to be open and welcoming travelers,” said Minister Grant. “Therefore, the launch of our new website today could not be better timed as it is one of the first places to which potential guests go to research what we have to offer including the variety of accommodations where they can stay, our distinct product offerings and unique attractions such as Brimstone Hill, a World Heritage Site, The Scenic Railway and Caribelle Batik/Romney Manor as well as how easy it is to get here.”

In addition to upgrading the site from a desktop-first design to a mobile one that automatically redraws to render the optimal experience according to user access device, the new website features enhanced search filters based on user-selected preference criteria that automatically refines searches to match them. For example, a user can choose to stay in a hotel that is beachfront and/or has pool and/or Wi-Fi capability. TripAdvisor integration provides an additional tool for travelers researching the destination and links to social media are more prominently promoted.

New pages also include curated itineraries similar to those found in travel guides, special offers, expanded hotel and events pages, highlighted links to tips from bloggers / publications and a dedicated page for travel professionals. The new website provides a full range of details including where to stay, activities, dining venues, a calendar of events, details about getting married on St. Kitts and more.

St. Kitts’ new website was created by Tambourine, the island’s digital marketing agency of record based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tambourine also created St. Kitts’ previous website, which won awards from some of the travel industry’s most prestigious organizations including HSMAI and Travel Weekly upon its debut in 2011.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Destination News

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Martinique Statement on Hurricane Irma

September 14, 2017: Following the devastation brought by Hurricane Irma, Karine Mousseau, Martinique Tourism Commissioner expressed her thoughts and sympathies to the people of all the Caribbean Islands which have been affected.

“On behalf of the Martinique Tourism Authority and of the people of Martinique, I wish to express our thoughts and solidarity. Our heart goes out to our brothers and sisters of the islands stricken by this unprecedented storm.”

In addition to the overall relief efforts, Martinique is also providing logistical and humanitarian support. On September 11 two ships from the Martinique Customs Division brought much needed food and water to the island of Saint Martin. A unit of 39 Martinique firefighters has been dispatched this Wednesday to assist local efforts–ongoing search and rescue, home safety evaluations and road clearing. The island’s population is also participating in a solidarity initiative set up by the Prefecture of Martinique to gather all the individual offers of assistance, from room and board to those left homeless to financial help.

Ms. Mousseau went on to say: “Our thoughts also go out to all our colleagues in the tourism industry affected by Hurricane Irma.  We in Martinique realize how fortunate we were to have been totally spared”.

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Florida Honeymoon Sweepstakes Winner Lauds Saint Lucia

(Saint Lucia, August 22, 2017) Saint Lucia is being praised highly by a very satisfied visitor who won the opportunity to enjoy the island. Nicole Kreiner won the trip in NBC 6 South Florida’s annual Ultimate Honeymoon Giveaway Sweepstakes in which the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) has been participating consistently over the years. Kreiner and her husband, Thomas St. Bizarro, stayed at the Ti Kaye Resort and Spa for a week from August 5. In a chat with the SLTB about the experience, Kreiner said, “Everyone is just so nice, the staff here are great and we love it here.” Her husband also expressed his love for the destination saying, “I thought I had died and gone to heaven… it is just so beautiful here”.

The adventure-loving couple made the Treetop Adventure Park in Dennery their first excursion and they were impressed by Saint Lucia’s natural beauty and the warmth of its people. Kreiner said, “It is just so beautiful here, you feel like you are always inside nature and the people here are just so welcoming everywhere we go.” The couple rented a car to explore the island and they visited Rodney Bay in the north of the island. On their return to Ti Kaye Resort and Spa, the couple got lost in the city but quickly found help from passersby. Kreiner recounts that “There was this really wonderful lady, she was actually buying bread and she took her time and got us all the way to the city exit.”

As part of their honeymoon adventure, the couple took a sunset cruise from Anse Cochon to watch the sun go down in the shade of the Pitons. To cap off their Saint Lucia sojourn, they climbed the majestic Gros Piton followed by a healing dip in the New Jerusalem mineral bath bringing a soothing end to their stay.

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