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TTC Special: Caribbean Hotels launched manual for hurricane season

TTC Special: The Caribbean awaits the hurricane season
By F. Martin

A new Disaster Preparedness Manual published this week aims to the prevention and preparedness phase against hurricanes includes structural and nonstructural vulnerability assessments, maintenance requirements, retrofitting requirements, emergency supplies, mutual aid agreements, guest information, training, insurance, community liaison, vital records and guest security.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) says it has produced a Disaster Preparedness Manual, which it intends to release to industry stakeholders as this year’s hurricane season approaches its peak months.

“The purpose of the guide, financed by both the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund and Expedia, is to supplement local efforts to develop communications preparedness and the response and recovery process for CHTA members, national tourism organizations, and public and private sector industry stakeholders before, during and after a potential disaster,” the CHTA said in a press release.

The 2017 season was “extremely active”, to use the National Hurricane Center’s technical term. In an “extremely active” year, storms have to generate at least 152.5 units of accumulated cyclone energy — a measure of storm intensity, duration, and frequency. 2017 hit 226, mostly due to storms in August and September, when Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated parts of the Caribbean and US.

An “extremely active” season also has to meet two out of these three conditions: 13 or more named storms, seven or more hurricanes, and three or more major hurricanes. We hit all three, with 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and six major hurricanes.

Puerto Rico is still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria, the strongest storm to hit the island since 1928.

From this destructive experience CHTA creates the manual as part of ongoing efforts to help islands recover from last year’s devastating hurricane season.

CHTA president Patricia Affonso-Dass said that “we are now assessing potential opportunities for collaboration to support our strategic focus areas and member needs and, over the coming months.

The CHTA said its involvement in CGI’s deliberations followed closely on the heels of its announcement with non-profit organization, Tourism Cares, that their joint initiative – the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund – has raised more than US$275,000 in charitable donations to build long-term recovery and enhance the ability of hurricane-impacted destinations to rebound as quickly as possible.