By NAN Contributor
News Americas, TORONTO, Canada, Fri. June 1, 2018: As the 2018 hurricane season begins today, the Canadian government is warning nationals to exercise a high degree of caution if travelling to two Caribbean islands impacted by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The Canadian government on May29th warned its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” if they plan to travel to Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin.
The updated travel advisory says passenger processing is still operating out of temporary accommodation on the airport grounds because of the damage caused to Princess Juliana airport and most of the major resorts on the island remain closed.
Hurricane Irma slammed both islands as a major hurricane on September 6, 2017.
The Canadian updated advisory comes as the several officials from impacted Caribbean nations updated the media Wednesday on a series of conference calls hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
French Saint Martin officials did report that the majority of hotels on the island were severely damaged and are only now beginning to set dates to reopen while only 60-70 percent of the island’s restaurants have reopened.
The Belmond La Samanna hotel has yet to set a reopening date while the Hotel La Plantation, Esmeralda Resort, and Riu Palace St. Martin are all anticipated to reopen the beginning of November. The Grand Case Beach Club is taking reservations for guests starting Oct. 1.
On Dutch Sint Maarten, tourism and economic affairs minister Cornelius de Weever revealed that the Princess Juliana International Airport is still so severely damaged and arriving airline passengers are walking off their planes to a white wedding-style tent for immigration processing.
Full reconstruction is not expected until late Q4 of this year, or early 2019.
De Weever also said only about 31 percent of Saint Maarten’s pre-hurricane inventory is open. The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa will be taking reservations for stays beginning Feb. 1, 2019; while the former Sonesta Great Bay Hotel & Casino, purchased by Sunwing Airlines earlier this year, is being demolished and remade as a 450-room Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino that may open by June 2019.