Hurricane Irma has now dissipated after causing extensive damage to a number of countries throughout the Caribbean and the state of Florida. The main focus now will be on restoring essential services and facilities for local residents, but the thousands of people who are due to travel out imminently to affected regions will be seeking advice from our Members as to their options and rights. Many airports in the region were forced to close for safety reasons and the initial priority for tour operators and airlines will be to repatriate stranded customers as soon as is possible. I was pleased to be able to brief the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, about the industry’s response to Irma after he phoned ABTA for an update earlier this week.
Before tour operators start to send out more holidaymakers, they will be conducting damage assessments in conjunction with their partners in the region, as well as continuing to follow whatever advice is currently in place from local authorities. During this period of uncertainty, tour operators have allowed various amendment and cancellation options in advance of travel, full details of which can be found here.
Our thoughts are with the countries and people of the Caribbean and the southern states of America, who have suffered the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma. I know they will display their customary resilience to get back on track as soon as is possible, and ABTA and our Members will do all that we can to assist this process.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive