• Tourism industry threatened in Florida, Caribbean in wake of Irma

    Ramesh Tiwari
    September 12, 2017
    Tourism industry threatened in Florida, Caribbean in wake of Irma

    New York ( Reuters) : Hurricane Irma’s path of destruction up Florida’s Gulf Coast threatens to disrupt a thriving state tourism industry worth more than $100-billion (U.S.) annually just months ahead of the busy winter travel season.

    Some of the state’s biggest attractions have announced temporary closures, including amusement park giants Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Legoland and Sea World, which all planned to close through Monday( Sept. 11).

    About 20 cruise lines have Miami as a home port or a port of call, according to the PortMiami website, and many have had to move ships out of the area and revise schedules.

    Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean have cancelled and revised several sailings as a result of the storm and have offered credits and waivers on trips where passengers are unable to travel.

    Irma made a second Florida landfall on Sunday on southwestern Marco Island as a Category 3 storm bringing winds of 185 kilometres an hour and life-threatening sea surge.

    Florida is one of the world’s top tourism destinations. Last year nearly 113 million people visited the state, a new record, and spent $109-billion, state officials said earlier this year. The first half of 2017 was on track to beat that record pace, officials said.

    The damage Irma’s winds and storm surge do to Florida’s 1,060 km of beaches and the structures built along them during more than 30 years of explosive population growth will be critical to how quickly the state’s ‘s No. 1 industry recovers. The Gulf beaches west of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, are squarely in the storm’s path.

    In 2016, more than 6.3 million people visited Pinellas County, which encompasses those cities, and generated more $9.7-billion in economic activity.

    Up and down the wide, sandy beaches of Pinellas County are traditional “old Florida” waterfront hotels such as the Don Cesar, a coral-pink 1920s hotel on St. Pete Beach, which was closed by the storm. There are also modern high-rises and resorts that are part of the country’s biggest chains and brands including Hyatt Hotels, Marriott International, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

    Meanwhile, the hurricane’s deadly tear through the Caribbean will hobble that region’s multibillion dollar tourism industry for months, just as hotels, airlines and cruises were gearing up for the region’s peak winter season.

    As one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, Irma has killed at least 29 people, leaving hotels, airports and other buildings damaged or flattened across prime vacation islands such as Saint Martin and Barbuda.

    Jack Richards, president of U.S.-based tour operator Pleasant Holidays, said it may be well into next year before the local tourism industry begins to normalize, costing it billions of dollars in lost business. The region’s busiest travel season runs from mid-December to Easter, when Canadians, Americans and Europeans leave behind snow and cold for the warm, turquoise Caribbean waters.

    In 2016, foreign visitors spent $31-billion in the Caribbean and were expected to spend an additional 5.3 per cent in 2017. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that in 2016, travel and tourism contributed $56-billion in gross domestic product.

    Sept. 11,2017

    • Connecting you with the world of travel and tourism

      News Brief

      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

      Wildlife in Chitawan , Nepal

      Window of Nepal Tourism

      http://www.nepaltournews.com/