Hurricane Dorian: What Canadians should know about travelling to the Bahamas
Thousands of flights to the Bahamas have been cancelled, with many more expected as recovery and rescue efforts continue on the Grand Bahama and Abaco islands.
The storm parked over the Bahamas and pounded it for over a day with strong winds and torrential rains, swamping neighbourhoods in muddy brown floodwaters and destroying or severely damaging thousands of homes. At least seven deaths were reported, but officials warned that the number would likely rise. Red Cross officials said tens of thousands of people need food and clean drinking water, and many are reported missing.
Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, with a combined population of about 70,000, are known for their marinas, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts.
WATCH: U.S. Coast Guard assists with evacuations in Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit
Canadians were advised prior to the hurricane on Sunday not to travel to Florida and the Bahamas.
The Canadian government’s travel advisory was updated on Tuesday with the following information: “Avoid all travel to Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in northwestern Bahamas due to damage caused by hurricane Dorian.”
Before you cancel your trip or avoid booking in the Bahamas this winter, remember this…. The Bahamas are made up of over 700 Islands and the vast majority of the country saw little or no impact from #hurricanedorian. They need your tourism money. pic.twitter.com/OYcEeGfVQG
— Anthony Farnell (@AnthonyFarnell) September 4, 2019
Canadian carriers have also issued flight advisories.
While WestJet cancelled flights to and from Fort Lauderdale, it did not cancel all flights to the Bahamas’ Lynden Pindling International Airport, also known as Nassau International Airport. Instead, it urged customers to regularly check flight updates if they have travel plans to the Bahamas.
WestJet had implemented its flexible flight change and cancellation policy for the Bahamas, but that ended on Tuesday. The airline said flights are now resuming as regularly scheduled.
Air Canada had also implemented its policy, allowing some customers to reschedule flights to the Bahamas airport, but it also expired on Monday.
Sunwing said its twice-weekly flights to Nassau and Paradise Island have continued through the storm, as they were not severely impacted by Dorian.
“All the resorts we offer have remained operational and there has been no significant damage to infrastructure,” a statement from Sunwing to Global News read.
While the Lynden Pindling airport remains open, it warned travellers on Wednesday that they should check with their respective airlines for updates.
LPIA is open for operations today, Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Travelers are asked to contact their respective airlines for further updates. Visit https://t.co/tFC6bjKrMz
— LPIA Nassau Airport (@Nassau_Airport) September 4, 2019
The Grand Bahama International Airport is closed, as is the Leonard Thompson International Airport.
Major resorts in the Bahamas also issued alerts for travellers.
Sandals Resorts issued a statement on Twitter, offering condolences to those affected by the storm. It added that its Bahamian resorts — Sandals Royal Bahamian, Sandals Emerald Bay and Fowl Cay — were not affected by Dorian.
— Sandals Resorts (@SandalsResorts) September 1, 2019
Atlantis Bahamas also issued a similar statement, saying its Paradise Island resort was not in the path of the storm. Warwick Paradise Island and Baha Mar resorts also said they are fully functional and did not face any damage.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization noted: “The all clear has been issued for New Providence, which includes the capital of Nassau and neighboring Paradise Island, as well as Eleuthera and Andros.”
WATCH: Hurricane Dorian leaves trail of destruction in Bahamas
It added that several other areas, such as islands in the Southeastern and Central Bahamas — The Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Ragged Island, Mayaguana and Inagua — were not affected by the storm.
In general, the CTO said hotels in Nassau and Paradise Island are operating regularly, while ones located in the Abacos and Grand Bahama were closed before the storm hit.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.