The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) has fully activated its Emergency Coordinating Committee Command Center at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, in preparation for Hurricane Matthew.
The committee represents a cross-section of the Ministry of Tourism that includes senior management and other officers who will monitor the storm’s movements and ensure the safety and security of visitors to The Islands of The Bahamas.
BMOT’s crisis management team is liaising with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Nassau Airport Development Company, the Port Authority and other relevant authorities.
“All hotels and resorts throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas have activated their hurricane programs and are taking all necessary precautions to protect visitors and residents, as safety remains the highest priority,” Director General, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Joy Jibrilu said.
On Grand Bahama, the Old Bahama Bay Resort, the Taino Beach Resort and Flamingo Bay Hotel and Marina will evacuate all guests off property by the end of Tuesday.
Sunwing Airlines will deploy aircrafts to evacuate guests at Memories Resort.
There are currently 1,537 tourists staying in various hotels on Grand Bahama.
Boaters at the marinas on the island are also departing. The airport on the island is operating as normal until further notice.
While some of the visitors on the family islands are evacuating ahead of the storm, some visitors and second homeowners say they will stay put.
As of Monday, there were 90 guests on the island of Abaco; 38 visitors on Andros; 25 international visitors in the Berry Islands; 392 guests in Bimini; 489 guests in Exuma; Long Island has 3 guests, and 18 international visitors are on San Salvador.
On Cat Island, four visitors left on Monday, October 3. Three international visitors on Inagua and two visitors on Mayaguana also left those islands.
On Crooked Island, four visitors also left on October 3 but two second home owners are staying on the island.
Finally, three second home owners on Ragged Island remain on the island.
“We want to assure all persons who may have family members visiting the Bahamas at this time, that every measure is being taken by hotels and our tourism offices to ensure the safety and security of those visitors. We will continue to reach out to each island for regular updates,” Jibrilu added.
MOT is maintaining contact with all of its offices, representatives and visitors in the family of islands as Hurricane Matthew approaches. All Family Island offices are equipped with satellite phones and other emergency supplies.
Several cruise ships have canceled scheduled visits to The Bahamas or have changed their itinerary to avoid Hurricane Matthew.
Carnival Sensation, which was scheduled to call on Half Moon Cay and then Grand Turk will instead visit Mexico.
Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Elation, Enchantment of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Norwegian Sky and Disney Dream have all canceled calls to The Bahamas.
Carnival Victory has rescheduled its itinerary to avoid the storm and visited Nassau on Monday, October 3. It will visit Freeport on Tuesday.
The Port Department has advised that the Port of Nassau will close at noon on Tuesday, October 4. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force will take charge of the facility and be responsible for its reopening.
“We are more concerned with the safety of visitors and residents than numbers right now. We are praying for the best outcome, and once the all clear is given we will turn our attention to assisting with recovery efforts if necessary and also sending the message to the world that The Bahamas is once again open for business,” Jibrilu said.
The Ministry of Tourism will be releasing regular updates on the tracking of Hurricane Matthew throughout The Islands of The Bahamas. Visit TourismToday.com or call the BMOT command center at 242-302-9074 for more information.
Media Contact: Travis Cartwright-Carroll | firstname.lastname@example.org | 242-397-2790