Irene Projected to Be Major Storm Impacting Most Islands
Ministry of Tourism and BHA Call for Voluntary Evacuation of Visitors
With the latest forecasts by the Bahamas Meteorological Department and the US National Hurricane Center showing Hurricane Irene as a strong Category 2 and Category 3 storm as it moves across the entire Bahamas, BHA and the Ministry of Tourism are calling on hotels to advise guests to consider leaving The Bahamas as early as possible.
Airports are required to close when winds are sustained at 40 mph. With the growing size of this storm, those conditions are anticipated in the southern Bahamas sometime Tuesday and in Nassau as early as noon on Wednesday, and the northernmost islands later that day.
The BHA has sent its members a letter via email which hotels are advised to modify and share with guests this evening or very early Tuesday. Guests should be advised to make adjustments to their travel as soon as possible online, via the airline’s 800# (note – COPA Airline’s # may not be listed and is 1-800-359-2672) or through their tour operator.
All readiness plans should now be well along. We will advise of airport, airline and US Pre-Clearance status as they become known to us. The Ministry of Tourism activated ESF 12 today, the National Emergency Management task force that addresses tourism-related matters and coordination efforts are now in place with BHA. It will also be important for us to quickly gauge storm damage immediately within 24 hours following the storm, as this is important in external communications with our travel partners and the media and has an impact on business.
The BHA has also sent its members via email a Damage Assessment Form which we ask be completed and returned to us immediately after the storm.
The Ministry of Tourism has also engaged its external public relations firm, Weber-Shandwick, in communications and public relations efforts. It will be important that media communications be coordinated and in that regard we remind the industry that inquiries from the media should be directed to the Ministry of Tourism or BHA.
Readiness measures for residents and businesses, shelter locations on each island and other useful information can be viewed at: www.bahamashurricaneprep.com, a readiness website developed by PLANIT NOW in cooperation with BHA, Kerzner Int’l, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, and the National Emergency Management Agency. Small craft operators in the southeast and central Bahamas should closely monitor the progress of Irene and not venture far from port.
If you did are a member and did not receive the email containing the attached forms please contact the BHA at 322-8381