Hurricanes, a threat to Jamaica’s tourism

Storm surge
A storm surge

Jamaica has once again been spared another disastrous hurricane, one that the country could not have managed. However,  Jamaica’s tourism industry might dwindle due to the category 4 Hurricane Ian hitting the shores of Florida on Wednesday. Flights have been cancelled, theme parks closed in Florida and cruises closed.

According to FlightAware, more than 2000 flights were cancelled on Wednesday that were incoming and outgoing including American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, Frontier, Spirit and United travelling to or from Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Florida. Sangster’s International Airport is one of the most popular airports in the Caribbean and mostly known for its common nonstop routes from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando which are all located in Florida.

September might not be a peak season for tourists, but Jamaica is still losing tourists because of hurricanes as the Caribbean is popular for its inclement weather conditions. The hurricane season is from June to November and, according to Sandals Resort, peak season for tourists is normally mid-December and ends mid-April. Sandals Resort advised that this is when the weather is cooler; but if the tourists are searching for more heat they can get that in the months of June to August. However, warmer temperature brings about an increase in rainfall but tourists can benefit from better prices and hotel deals at this time.

Delano Seiveright, senior strategist in the Tourism Ministry says he expects airports in Orlando and Tampa to be closed for the remainder of the week but while this is a ‘hit’ to Jamaica, it will not last long. Sangster’s International Airport had also received flight cancellations up to Saturday 1 October. Jamaica’s tourism sector plays a major role in its economy. As of last year Jamaica had up to 1.54 million tourists according to Travel Pulse.

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