There are over 3,500 visitors in The Bahamas ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew.

In New Providence and on Paradise Island there are over 3,000 visitors and those numbers are expected to diminish during the week.

There are 593 visitors throughout The family islands. There are seven visitors on Abaco; two on Eleuthera; two on North Andros; 21 on San Salvador; eight on the Berry Islands; 153 on Bimini, and 400 in the Exumas. Shelters have been opened on each of the islands and officials are moving to ensure that guests either evacuate or take shelter.

The Lynden Pindling International Airport will close on Wednesday October 5 at 11 a.m.

Airports in the family islands will close today and those include the airports in Inagua, Ragged Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Long Island.

Approximately 1600 guests are being evacuated from Grand Bahama Island today. The Grand Bahama Airport Company said it will cease operations on Wednesday, October 5 at noon and will resume operations on Saturday, October 8 at 6 a.m.

All cruise ships have now re-routed away from ports in The Bahamas to other destinations.

The Port Department has advised that the Port of Nassau closed at noon today. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force will take charge of the facility and be responsible for is reopening.

Director General in the Ministry of Tourism Joy Jibirlu said “we are praying for the best outcome with the storm”.

“The Bahamas is a place where the world comes to vacation. As we prepare to face the impending hurricane, what is of critical importance to us is the safety of our residents and visitors,” Jibrilu said.

“Once the all clear is given, we will turn our attention to assisting with recovery efforts, if necessary, and also to sending the message to the world that The Bahamas is once again open for business.”

The category four storm, with winds up to 145 miles per hour, is expected to impact the southern Bahamas today.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) is making final preparations and coordinating its efforts ahead of the storm and has fully activated its Emergency Coordinating Committee at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau.

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.

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.

The BMOT is maintaining contact with all of its offices, representatives and visitors in the family of islands as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

The Islands Of The Bahamas will be releasing updates on the tracking of Hurricane Matthew on Bahamas.com/storms but we encourage everyone to access the National Hurricane Center and the Weather Channel for latest updates.  For more information on Hurricane Matthew and The Islands Of The Bahamas, travel professionals and consumers are advised to access the following: The National Hurricane Center at nhc.ncoaa.gov and the Weather Channel at www.weather.com.

Media Contact: Travis Cartwright-Carroll | tcartwright@bahamas.com | 242-397-2790