Despite torrential rains, winds and extreme weather on Christmas Eve that caused dramatic flooding and landslides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica, tourism attractions and hotels escaped with minor damage and few cancellations.
The cost of repairs to roads, bridges and homes, however, will be high.
Glen Beache, CEO of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, said that the northern part of St. Vincent was the most affected, with flooding damaging homes and banana plantations and causing bridges and roads to buckle.
“This is was one of the largest storms ever to hit the island, and there has been a lot of damage, but none to the hotel stock,” Beache said. “We’re up and running and had no cancellations, but repairs to the infrastructure will be costly, especially with the economic crisis that we face anyway.”
On a positive note, the $250 million Argyle Airport, slated to open later this year, “passed its first test with flying colors. There was no damage at the site,” Beache said.
On Dominica, damage was confined to the southwestern part of the island, with flooding in the hilly interior. Landslides temporarily blocked the road leading to the Trafalgar Falls attraction near the capital of Roseau.
Daryl Aaron, resort manager at Rosalie Bay on Dominica’s east coast, reported no damage nor cancellations.
St. Lucia’s hotels escaped damage, according to Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus.
“All island hotels and tourism establishments weathered the system with little or no disruptions to normal operations," he said. "Crews from the Ministry of Infrastructure continue to work around the clock to restore the island’s road network."
The Caribbean region stepped in with aid and assistance from a number of islands as well as from the Caribbean diaspora in the U.S. and the U.K.