Saint Martin: Tourism industry still recovering from the passage of hurricane Irma, one year ago

Orient Bay Beach, a stretch of sand and turquoise waters known as “the Gem of St-Martin Island”. Though the view might still be the same, the tourism industry is still recovering from the passage of hurricane Irma. “I thought there would be more things open. A lot of work still needs to be done. I mean, I understand, you can’t get everything the next day when you are on an island.” Everyday, this sailing club manager takes a detour to the beach to keep an eye on the equipment that survived the hurricane. “We had windsurfing, kitesurfing boards, a small catamaran, paddle boards, actually this is pretty much what we have left.” With little to no incomes, Cécile is living off her savings. A precarious situation but she says Saint-Martin still has a bright future. “The island will get back on track. It’s definitely taking a lot longer than we thought. Just after Irma, we were optimistic, and thought things would move fast. Now we realize it will take longer.” Last year, a category-5 storm left a trail of destruction. Since then, only one in seven hotels has reopened its doors. This hotel owner is still stuck in limbo. He’s been waiting for months for money from his insurance company. “We are at the mercy of this money. It’s a claim that no one refutes, but the money hasn’t appeared on my account.” Hotel industry representatives estimate that 2 in 5 rooms will be ready by the end of the year. This on an island where 95% of the income comes from the tourism industry.

One thought on “Saint Martin: Tourism industry still recovering from the passage of hurricane Irma, one year ago

  1. Unfortunately, it's a Catch-22 situation: tourists don't want to go to places that are in bad shape, but those places need tourist money to get their properties cleaned up and repaired. Hopefully, this year will see a quieter hurricane season for the Caribbean.

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