September 28th, 2018
Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo Courtesy The New York Times
Excellent article titled “It’s ‘One Tough Year’ After Hurricanes Tore Through British Virgin Islands” just published in the NY Times. The article does a good job recapping the effects of Irma and Maria on the territory and how far it has come in recovering one year later. The article makes a number of key points including:
BVI Was the Worst Hit – According to the British Government, the BVI was “one of the worst hit and one of the slowest to restore normalcy among the British territories affected, which include Anguilla and Turks and Caicos…”
Residents Are Still Suffering – The article highlights the human toll of the hurricanes offering a quote from Gov. Augustus Jaspert who said, “The storms also destroyed 70 percent of homes on the islands… It absolutely breaks my heart that there are still people living in houses that are very destroyed.”
Construction Is Finally Picking Up – “Construction was initially delayed by the difficulty of importing supplies… But construction has picked up and wooden scaffolds have begun to cover the facades of government buildings, businesses and hotels across the island.”
Hotel Industry Was Hit Hard – Estimates indicate that one year later only “about one-third of the islands’ hotel inventory — are expected to be available for booking” this season and many of the larger resorts like Bitter End and Little Dix Bay will not reopen until late 2019.
Sailing Charters Rebounded Quickly – The article presented a brighter picture of the sailing sector stating that, “The charter and sailing industry rebounded quickly after the storms, and close to 3,000 berths are available throughout the territory for motorized boats and sailboats, according to tourism officials.”
Cruise Ships Are Returning – “Disney Cruise Line returned earlier this month and Norwegian Cruise Line is expected to follow later this year,” however, the article goes on to say that the government expects 30% less cruise ship visitors this winter.
Trash and Debris Still Remain – adding to the woes of the tourism industry is the fact that “More than 300 wrecked boats remain strewn on bays and beaches in the British Virgin Islands.”
Definitely worth a read, the article reminds us that despite gains in the tourist sectors there are many, many local residents who are still suffering from the effects of Irma and Maria.