With the passing of Hurricane Ivan, initial reports indicate that the majority of Jamaica’s tourist regions and airports suffered little serious damage, the Jamaica Tourist Board announced yesterday. Efforts are now underway to assess the overall damage and get life back to normal. Visitors from the United Kingdom, the United States and as well as other countries took shelter in hotels throughout Jamaica. Initial reports indicate that these visitors remain unharmed and their safety continues to be a priority.
Both the runways and communication towers at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay did not sustain any significant damage. Montego Bay airport is now open for business and Kingston airport is expected to open during the afternoon today Monday 13, September as soon as the road(s) to the airport become accessible.
The major cities and the resort regions of Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and Negril, have all reported that water, power and electricity are being restored and most major hotels have reported limited or no structural damage.Ê News from the South Coast is still forthcoming.
“Jamaica can be thankful that it was spared a direct hit.Ê Hurricane Ivan is now headed towards the North-west and away from the island, but the country is still feeling the effects, especially on the South Coast, the area of the island taking the brunt of the hurricane’s force,” said Prime Minister P.J. Patterson at a post-hurricane press conference at the Hilton Kingston on Saturday evening.
In an effort to help speed the recovery of the industry, a Hurricane Recovery Group, a cooperative organisation comprised of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the TPDCo and the National Environmental Protection Agency, has been formed. The group is now helping to carry out a preliminary assessment to provide a clear estimate of the overall damage to the travel and tourism industry. This includes establishing updates on all tourism related entities including hotels, villas, attractions, and tour and ground operations.
“We are pleased that preliminary reports indicate that most of the resort areas and centres of the island’s central tourist business, including the North Coast towns of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, suffered mainly cosmetic damage and all structures remained primarily intact,” said Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook. “We are still waiting to receive proper assessments from the South Coast, as there is limited access to the area at this time.”
Pennicook continued, “We would like to thank all of our emergency groups and tourism partners for their efforts over the past several days. While we are now focused on getting the industry back to normal, it is important to acknowledge the work done by the industry to ensure the safety and security of those visitors who stayed on the island over this period.”
Details and the most current updates on Jamaica’s response to Hurricane Ivan are posted on the Jamaica Tourist Board Web site at www.visitjamaica.com.Ê