In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the Bahamas’ tourism product – with few notable exceptions – appears to have fared well during the storm, according to tourism officials. One of those exceptions is the island of Grand Bahama, another is North Andros.
Grand Bahama faces a serious economic challenge with the temporary closure of some of its major hotels, such as the Grand Lucayan Resort and Memories Grand Bahama Beach Casino Resort, which were severely damaged by Matthew.
The Grand Lucayan Resort issued a statement on Sunday evening regarding its closure.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Grand Lucayan successfully evacuated all guests and employees prior to the storm making landfall. At this time, we will remain closed until we're able to finish a complete assessment of the property. We appreciate everyone’s kind words of support and encouragement,” the statement said.
The Ministry of Tourism has reported on its initial assessments of hotel properties, beaches and other touristic sites throughout the Islands of The Bahamas following the all clear by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu on Friday said,“I am so pleased that there are reports of only minor damage in our Family Islands and on New Providence. We are still awaiting official reports from Grand Bahama but are ready to respond to that island’s needs. We are cognizant that we are a blessed nation because we took quite a lashing from such a powerful category four hurricane and received no loss of life... We would like to extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers for all the residents of The Bahamas who have been affected by the storm.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Haiti... We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Caribbean family in recovery exercises.”
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s crisis management team is keeping track of all visitor counts by island and receiving frequent updates. BMOT also continues to liaise with NEMA, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Nassau Airport Development Company, the Port Authority and other relevant authorities.
A BMOT statement reported minor damage on Long Island with some downed power lines and trees. However, phone, electricity and water are on. There were no reports of major property damage to any of the resorts on the island including Cape Santa Maria and the Stella Maris Resort.
“There were also reports of minor damage on San Salvador. There were no reports of debris or downed power lines or trees on the roads and the hurricane shelters have already been cleared.
The airport on San Salvador is secure and all government buildings are reported to be in good condition. Additionally, Club Med reported no building damage,” the statement said.
On New Providence/Paradise Island, Stuart’s Cove reported that all staff are safe and all their boats made it through. The dive shop and dock at South Ocean all received some damage, but nothing that would prevent the company from reopening for business as usual.
The RIU Palace on Paradise Island reportedly appeared to have suffered damage.
There were reports of mainly landscape damage to many of the hotels on New Providence, including Graycliff, Melia Nassau Beach Resort and Warwick Paradise Island hotel. There are over 3,000 visitors on New Providence, 74 on Grand Bahama and 228 throughout the Family Islands. All visitors in the country are accounted for, said the ministry.
In South Andros, Tiamo Resort reported no building damage. The Lighthouse Yacht Club is severely damaged, with approximately 80 percent of the roof being damaged. The main government dock in Central Andros is still in good shape and a full update is expected.
On Eleuthera, there was minimal damage. Villa Allamanda appeared fine from an external inspection. French Leave is closed for renovations, but no major damage was reported.
On Great Exuma, there were reports of minimal damage throughout the island. The roads are passable with some flooding in Rolletown. Many of the resorts on the island reported very minor damage. February Point has no property damage. Exuma Beach Resort has some shingle damage. Club Peace and Plenty has some damage to its windows and dock. Grand Isle Resort reported no property damage.
Augusta Bay has no damage. Hideaways at Palm Bay has some minor shingle and fence damage. The airport received no major damage.
On Abaco, 502 people reported to the shelters, three of whom are U.S. visitors in Man-O-War Cay. It is reported that they were out on a boat. Forty Chinese workers are in the Cooper’s Town shelter.
The Ministry of Tourism office on Abaco will continue to monitor the group, but at last report they were comfortable. For now, it appears that resorts in Marsh Harbour suffered no major damage.
The Nassau Guardian
Published: October 11, 2016