Jamaica reopens as Beryl heads for Yucatan Peninsula

Jamaica is getting back to business after the passage of Hurricane Beryl, releasing details of the reopening schedule for its airports and cruise ports.

The island’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said: “Jamaica is open for business and, once again, the resilience of the Jamaican people is on full display.”

And the Minister continued: “We are grateful that there has been no wide-scale impact to our general tourism infrastructure and our tourism industry is fully operational. Our message to our partners and visitors is Jamaica is ready for you, so come back to the destination you love.”

Based on information collected by the Tourism Emergency Operations Centre (TEOC), Minister Bartlett indicated that Jamaica’s tourism sector has not experienced any major fallout from the weather system.

Said the Minister: “While there have been some reports of fallen trees, debris, flooding and power outages, we are grateful that there has been no wide-scale impact to our general tourism infrastructure.”

The TEOC reported that a limited number of tourists required relocation due to blocked roadways or due to precautionary measures.

The tourism minister noted that: “We are also aware of isolated reports of property damage. Post-hurricane impact assessments are now underway and are being led by the Tourism Product Development Company’s (TPDCo) product quality team, and we will have a clearer picture of the steps that will have to be taken to address any concerns in the coming days.”

And Bartlett added: “Our resilience and collaboration in the face of adversity was again demonstrated over the last few days, and I am confident that the industry will recover rapidly and emerge even stronger.”

Reopening plans are as follows:

  • Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay reopened on July 4 at 6 pm EST.
  • Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston is currently scheduled to re-open at 5:00 a.m. EST today (Friday, July 5).
  • The Ian Fleming International Airport (IFIA) in Ocho Rios is currently open.
  • Jamaica’s Cruise Ports (Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Falmouth) are currently open.

Visitors are advised to contact their travel advisor and airline provider for updates before arriving at the airports.

Donovan White, Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board encouraged tourism industry partners across the world to spread the word that Jamaica is open.

Said White: “We are ready, willing, and more than able to welcome our guests back to our beautiful island.”

Jamaica’s hotels and resorts were also praised for being well-prepared as staff and guests remained safe during the storm.

Jamaica has welcomed more than two million visitors thus far in 2024, more than ever reported during the period of January to May, further solidifying its position as one of the world’s leading island travel destinations.

The island’s hurricane preparedness efforts also earned praise from Nicola Madden-Greig, the President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

Madden-Greig, who rode out the storm at her office in Kingston, said: “Jamaica was spared the worst of the hurricane and we have now returned to regular business operations.”

CHTA’s boss continued: “We have no reports of any guests being injured during the passage of the storm, and the majority of the hotels and the tourism industry in general have emerged unscathed,” however, she expressed concerns for the south coast of the island, where many local communities were impacted, along with several independent hotels and villa operations.

Said Madden-Greig: “We will be including these operators in our disaster relief efforts, particularly in the Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth area,” she noted, explaining however that she had little doubt that this resilient community will rebound in the shortest possible time.”

She also said that she was encouraged by reports from the Cayman Islands, which confirmed no major impact on the sector there, observing: “We are thankful to God for sparing us for the most part, and we are now resolved to getting our industry back on track, while serving communities (especially those in the Grenadines) who are in dire need at this time.”

The trade association leader was encouraged with the individuals, businesses and organizations that want to contribute to regional hurricane relief efforts may make a monetary donation at www.chtaef.com.

In its latest update (July 5) on Hurricane Beryl, the National Hurricane Center states that: “Hurricane force winds, dangerous storm surge and heavy rainfall are beginning to occur across the Yucatan Peninsula within the hurricane warning area. Residents there should shelter in place through the passage of these life-threatening conditions today.”

The NHC’s update continues: “There is an increasing risk of strong winds, storm surge and heavy rainfall in portions of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas late this weekend. Interests in these areas should closely monitor the progress of Beryl and updates to the forecast. Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches will likely be issued later today.”

And it adds that: “ Rip currents could cause life-threatening beach conditions beginning late today and continuing through the weekend across much of the Gulf Coast.”