Hurricane Beryl: Jamaica prepares, as CHTA extends its support

In its latest update on Hurricane Beryl, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is advising that devastating hurricane force winds, life-threatening storm surge and damaging waves are expected in portions of Jamaica beginning this afternoon and in the Cayman Islands early on Thursday.

And it adds that life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides from heavy rainfall are expected over much of Jamaica and southern Haiti through today.

Looking ahead, NHC said that Hurricane Beryl is forecast to remain a hurricane when it approaches the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize late Thursday, where hurricane and tropical storm watches have been issued.

However, it said that there remains uncertainty in the track and intensity forecast of Beryl over the western Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Interests in the western Gulf of Mexico should monitor the progress of Beryl.

(Graphic map courtesy of the National Hurricane Center)

Bracing for Impact

In Jamaica, the island is bracing for Hurricane Beryl’s arrival, with the storm on a track to arrive around mid-day today (July 3).

Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness has already declared the island a disaster area in preparation for the arrival of storm – originally a Category 5, before being downgraded to Category 4.

Tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, along with the Ministry’s Tourism Emergency Operations Centre (TEOC) team, other public officials and private sector industry groups, has taken steps to:

  • Ensure hotels, Airbnbs, and tourism attractions follow comprehensive hurricane preparedness plans.
  • Coordinate with local authorities to secure the safety and well-being of staff and tourists.
  • Establish communication protocols to provide timely updates and guidance to all tourism sector entities.
  • Stock emergency supplies and secure facilities to minimize potential damage.
  • Implement evacuation plans where necessary and ensure that emergency contact information is readily available.

Minister Bartlett underscored that “the TEOC team will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as needed.

The team will also maintain contact with our tourism partners, including Airlines and Cruise lines. I urge all tourism stakeholders to remain vigilant and to follow all safety guidelines to ensure the protection of life and property.”

Support and Sympathy

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has extend both sympathy and support to destinations affected by the devastating impact of Hurricane Beryl, particularly in islands such as Carriacou and Petite Martinique in Grenada, as well as Mayreau, Canouan, Union Island and others which form part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig expressed profound concern for the local communities hit hardest by the storm and assured that the trade association is committed to assisting with relief efforts.

“We will be working in collaboration with our National Hotel and Tourism Associations in Grenada and St. Vincent to provide necessary support and aid to the local communities impacted by Hurricane Beryl,” said Madden-Greig, who conveyed the association’s interest with the safety of everyone still in the storm’s path, including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.

Madden-Greig said that: “In the face of adversity, the resilience of the Caribbean’s primary industry will shine through once again,” said Madden-Greig, who said the region, with its strong tradition of public-private partnerships, is no stranger to crisis.

The reopening of airports and the resumption of business activities in the Eastern Caribbean exemplify the premium placed on preparedness and determination to bounce back swiftly from such crises, she posited.

“The Caribbean has demonstrated time and again our capability to deal with storms and crises. We are dedicated to protecting lives and livelihoods, ensuring that our communities are safe and our economies remain robust. CHTA will continue to stand by all affected areas, offering our full support in recovery efforts,” said Madden-Greig, who serves as Director of Sales and Marketing with the Courtleigh Hospitality Group in Jamaica.

Noting that authorities have issued full clearance for Grenada to receive visitors, she reminded travellers that the vast majority of destinations across the region remain open for business and are still welcoming visitors. She also encouraged those travelling to affected areas to support hurricane relief drives.

Said Madden-Greig: “Travelling to the Caribbean not only helps our tourism industry but also contributes to the recovery of the affected areas. We may be knocked down in some areas, but we are resilient people, and we will be back before long.”

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