A small return to normalcy.
Nearly three weeks since Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the U.S. Virgin Islands and other parts of the Caribbean, many tourist destinations on the territory’s three islands are indefinitely closed until next year. But The Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix is set to reopen for business as early as next week and will start taking guests, said the jurisdiction’s commissioner of tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
The hotel, which faced little damage from the natural disasters, has since been housing relief workers there to assist response efforts. But will resume taking reservations for vacationing guests planning to arrive on and after Nov. 1. And with the recommencing of commercial flights to St. Croix and St. Thomas, officials are working towards increasing service, added the commissioner.
“We are working closely with our airline partners to ensure there are commercial flights to meet the needs of our residents, businesses, visitors and the numerous professionals who are supporting the hurricane recovery,” said Nicholson-Doty. “We will continue to advocate for expanded service as more of our hotel properties reopen and demand begins to grow in the marketplace.”
As other buildings on the territory continue to assess their damages and estimated rebuilding costs, a sense of regularity has returned as some schools are back in session, with some 2,000 students returning to their studies already, according to Governor Kenneth Mapp at a press conference.
With tourism as one of the vital industries for the multi-island territory, multiple requests have been received by government, and Royal Caribbean cruises are expected to also resume their routes to the islands once repairs are made, added Mapp.
“Hopefully in the next number of days, we will be making a formal announcement about the return of cruise traffic to the territory,” he said. “The turnstiles cannot be opened without adequate infrastructure in place — to ensure that visitors can have a good and safe time and a very positive experience.”