HURRICANE JOAQUIN: BMOT Fully Activates Command Centre
As Hurricane Joaquin storms into The Bahamas, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) has fully activated its Emergency Coordinating Committee at the British Colonial Hilton to monitor visitors in all of the Islands of The Bahamas.
The committee represents a cross-section of the Ministry of Tourism that includes senior management and other officers who will monitor the storm’s movements.
BMOT’s crisis management team is liaising with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Nassau Airport Development Company, the Port Authority and other relevant authorities.
“We are monitoring and disseminating information as soon as we get it and we are making sure that our islands in the south have pertinent information and similarly that they are passing the information to us so we can ensure that at all times contact and communication is taking place,” Director General in the Ministry of Tourism Joy Jibrilu said.
“What we have ascertained just how many visitors we have in The Bahamas. We have a head count of all the visitors in each of the islands.”
The director general said that there are approximately 5,500 visitors in Nassau and Paradise Island. In Grand Bahama, there are about 1,500 visitors. There are 520 in the Family Islands.
“We have a sprinkling of visitors throughout the chain of islands. Fortunately, this is a low season particularly for our Family Islands. A lot of the hotels are closed for this period to do the renovations and the upkeep that they need to do in preparation for the major opening for the winter season and it is a blessing in disguise this time,” Ms. Jibrilu said.
She added that marinas have also been taken under consideration.
“I’m happy to say that through the Marinas Association of The Bahamas we have been able to get the word out throughout The Bahamas. We’ve heard from most of the Family Islands where there were concerns and they have all assured us that all of the boaters are insured, the boats are protected and that they are all safe,” Ms. Jibrilu said.
The overall objectives of the Ministry’s hurricane preparedness plan are to ensure the safety and security of visitors to The Bahamas, the protection of the country’s reputation and the securing of the Ministry’s physical assets.
During the storm, team members will conduct task force conference calls to keep key agencies apprised of preparations and developments.
Each Bahamas Tourist Office (BTO) throughout the islands is equipped with a satellite phone to keep in touch with the command center in New Providence.
BMOT will also monitor social media and news sites to ensure that accurate information is given about The Bahamas during the time of the storm.
As a result of the Hurricane Warning, at least three cruise lines have rerouted their ships to avoid Hurricane Joaquin. Carnival has altered its Eastern Caribbean itineraries for Pride and Valor, Princess replaced Royal Princess’ call at the line’s private island, and Norwegian has canceled Getaway’s Nassau call scheduled for later this week.
Bahamasair cancelled flights Long Island – Georgetown, Exuma – Eleuthera, and Providenciales Turks and Caicos Islands on October 1, 2015. All other domestic flights and flights to Florida will operate as usual.
It is business as usual at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau pending further updates from the Nassau MET office. Grand Bahama airport is operating as usual.
The Islands Of The Bahamas will be releasing updates on tracking of Hurricane Joaquin, but we encourage everyone to access the National Hurricane Center and The Weather Channel for latest updates. For more information on Hurricane Joaquin and The Islands Of The Bahamas, travel professionals and consumers are advised to access the following:
The National Hurricane Center at nhc.ncoaa.gov
The Weather Channel at www.weather.com