Only 13 Hotels Sustain Irene Damage

Only 13 hotels out of 110 surveyed by the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and Ministry of Tourism within five days of Hurricane Irene's passage reported "a significant level of roof, water, equipment and/or building damage", Tribune Business was told last night.

A BHA statement said another 17 properties reported a "moderate" level of damage from the storm, with most properties suffering minor damage that was mostly landscaping-related.

All Family Island hotels that suffered damage and normally close at this time of the year anticipated reopening on schedule, although several said they will extend their period of closure by several weeks to complete repairs.

Stuart Bowe, the BHA's president, said in a statement: "This review confirmed the information being received in the assessment reports, and also provided further indication of the challenges some properties face in becoming operational, restricted by access to electricity and telecommunications.

"This was particularly evident on Cat Island, North and South Eleuthera, Harbour Island, North Abaco and Green Turtle Cay. While considerable progress with utility restoration has been made in many of those areas since our visual inspection, we are hopeful that those remaining areas, particularly on parts of Eleuthera and Cat Island, will be restored as quickly as possible."

He added: "The BHA has encouraged those properties which have received moderate to extensive damage to move quickly to file any request for restoration support as a result of the Government's Exigency Order, which allows for duty-free importation of certain items important to restoration.

"This exemption extensds on an individual resident and business basis throughout the Bahamas and beyond the islands designated in the Exigency Order, based upon receipt of application, extent of damages, and Government approval.

"The BHA will continue to receive assessments and work with all stakeholders to help minimise the storm's impact on those properties which continue need support."

The Tribune