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Anguilla: One Year After Hurricane Irma

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© Getty Images Anguilla Island, English Caribbean Island. (photo via daniloforcellini / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

By Joe Pike, TravelPulse

When assessing the impact last year’s hurricane season had on Anguilla, it’s important to note that the biggest blow to the destination’s tourism product was actually damage sustained to its neighbors.

The damage to Anguilla’s hotel infrastructure was compounded by the destruction of its main airport hub in St. Maarten.

In fact, Irma set the island back to visitor levels it had not seen since 1993, according to the Anguilla Tourist Board. Recent tourism losses amount to roughly $100 million, which includes $37.45 million in losses for 2017 and $62.2 million in losses for 2018; losses for 2019 are estimated at $330,000.

But in the roughly one year since Irma wreaked havoc on the Caribbean, Anguilla has slowly picked up the pieces and is poised for a solid winter.

“There is considerable pent-up demand for Anguilla, and for winter 2018/19 our tourism product will be stronger and better than ever, with newly renovated and refreshed resorts, brand new properties, and our iconic restaurants and attractions,” according to a statement released by the Anguilla Tourist Board.

Although all phases of repairs to the Princess Juliana International Airport are not expected to be completed by 2020, when it does come back it will be stronger than before. In fact, the entire airport roof will be able to sustain hurricane wind forces of up to 185 miles per hour, according to St.Maarten/St. Martin tourism representatives.

Also helping to bring more arrivals to Anguilla is the recent resumption of night operations at the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport. Flights on local carrier Anguilla Air Services, which has scheduled service between Anguilla and St. Martin, and Anguilla and St. Barts, are now bookable via GDS.

And ferry service, which Anguilla also relies so heavily upon for both day-trippers and overnight arrivals, has returned.

The newly renovated Anguilla—St. Maarten Ferry terminal on St. Maarten became operational on July 16. The private ferry companies, which Anguilla relies so heavily on, resumed operations to and from St. Maarten in October 2017.

The daily, public ferry service between Blowing Point and Marigot Bay on the French side resumed operations on November 11, 2017. The pre-Irma schedule of departures every 45 minutes was restored on Monday, May 21, 2018. Anguilla departures run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Marigot departures run from 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We have been here before," according to the Anguilla Tourist Board's statement. "We know that Anguilla will fully recover. We take great pride in reclaiming our status as the no. 1 Caribbean destination, and look forward to welcoming everyone back to our island.”

Hotel Inventory

A wide selection of small boutique hotels, villa properties and holiday apartment rentals, comprising 1,200 rooms, are open for business.

The Reef by CuisinArt, which reopened April 1, closed Aug. 19 for the summer and will reopen in November. Among the improvements planned for the hotel is a new look for the resort’s penthouses and villas. All accommodations will feature Frette linens, towels and bathrobes and Nespresso machines.

CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa will reopen Nov. 1 following extensive renovations. Long Bay Villas Anguilla, formerly Elements Villas, will reopen on Nov. 15 under new management and ownership.

Belmond Cap Juluca will unveil the renovated and rebranded property Nov. 17. Anguilla Great House will reopen on December 15. Tranquility Beach, a new condo resort development on Meads Bay, is slated to debut in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort is slated to reopen Dec. 15, offering a refreshed and updated resort experience nearly a year in the works. Long Bay Villas Anguilla, formerly Elements Villas, is slated to reopen Nov. 15 under new management and ownership.

According to the tourism board's statement, "The [Caribbean Tourism Organization] has been an invaluable source for advice, counsel and support in helping us to deliver our message that Anguilla is open for business, expanding and extending our own outreach through their various social media platforms, trade shows and conferences."

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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Anguilla: One Year After Hurricane Irma
Anguilla: One Year After Hurricane Irma
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