Heading into high season for winter getaways, and with spring and summer vacations on the horizon, Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions are well-timed for the travel industry.
TORONTO — The D.R.’s tourism industry has emerged relatively unscathed from Hurricane Maria, with no reports of major damage to hotel infrastructure, however Air Canada Vacations is advising that it has cancelled all flights to Punta Cana and Samana on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. See below for more information from ACV as well as updates from other tour operators and resort chains.
Julio Almonte, Vice Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic’s Northern Zone, toured the D.R.’s north coast with his team, noting that the hotel infrastructure “has not suffered any damage and that electricity and water services are working. The roads are operational and Gregorio Luperón Airport was not affected.”
Joel Santos, president of the National Hotel and Tourism Association of the Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES), said there are cleaning and gardening crews operating to repair some of the things that wind and rain have affected.
Ernesto Veloz, president of the Association of Hotels and Tourism Projects of the East (ASOLESTE), added that Punta Cana’s hotel infrastructure did not suffer considerable damage, “with only the usual minor impact you would face with winds and rains of this nature.” Hotel services are fully operational, he said.
Juan Bancalari, president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Companies of Samana (AHETSA), added that “Samana is not reporting major issues and vehicular traffic on the Northeastern Highway and Boulevard del Atlántico is back to normal. The hotel infrastructure in the area did not have significant damage, the electricity was reestablished in one of the areas that had been affected and the flooding on the boardwalk will be solved in the next hours.”
Here are the latest updates from ACV, Sunwing, Transat and WestJet as they come in. Reports from the hotels are scarce so far but Melia says its 3 Punta Cana properties weathered the storm, with the exception of some damage to on-site restaurants, and AMResorts has updated its advisory for guests in destination and also guests looking to re-book, see below:
ACV has cancelled all flights to Punta Cana and Samana on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. Files will automatically be eligible for rebooking at a later date.
The following flights are cancelled:
“Affected customers may rebook an alternate ACV package by Oct. 15, 2017 for travel before April 30, 2018. Customers are responsible for any price differential resulting from selection of a higher-priced alternative. This policy applies to scheduled departures as indicated above only.”
Service to the D.R. is on track to operate as scheduled on Sept. 25, says ACV.
WestJet cancelled three flights into Punta Cana from Toronto earlier this week. It also added extra flights from Punta Cana to Toronto to bring WestJet passengers home.
“WestJet guests (air only) wishing to know if their itinerary has been changed can visit the ‘My trips’ section on westjet.com to view their updated itinerary. WestJet Vacations guests wishing to know if their itinerary has been changed can call WestJet Vacations at 1-877-737-7001.
WestJet advises all guests travelling to or from cities listed in the hurricane warning up until Sept. 25 to check the status of their flights prior to leaving for the airport. WestJet’s change and cancel rules for the above allow guests to change their travel dates/route without incurring the change/cancel fee. To review your flight options, please call: WestJet (air-only): 1-888-WESTJET (1-888-937-8538)
WestJet Vacations: 1-877-737-7001.
Passengers with air-only bookings made through a travel agent are asked to contact their travel agent directly.
Sunwing is reporting that based on the feedback from its local teams in the D.R., damage in destination has been limited to fallen trees with no major structural damage to hotels. “Airports in Puerto Plata and Punta Cana are expected to remain closed until later today. Any flights to Puerto Plata and Punta Cana are expected to resume normal operations on Sept. 23 however we have extended flexible travel options until Sept. 24 for customers with plans to travel to either destination until that date.”
Sunwing added: “As we continue to communicate with our local teams, we will provide further updates as ground crews conduct assessments on any hotels that were in the hurricane’s path.”
Transat announced yesterday that due to the impacts caused by the passage of Hurricane Maria, scheduled flights on Sept. 21 and 22 to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, departing from Toronto, Montreal and Quebec would be cancelled. Transat’s hurricane policy has been implemented for flights still scheduled to depart until Sept. 25 to the D.R.
Nathalie Carpentier, Sales Manager for Melia for Eastern Canada, posted the following on Facebook:
“Latest updates on the situation of our 3 properties in Punta Cana after Hurricane Maria:
“Paradisus Palma Real & Paradisus Punta Cana = ok, re-openning within 48 hours. Same for Melia Caribe Tropical, with the exception of two restaurants close to the beach (Agora and Cuatro) that will need repairs (for 45 days approx.).
“Thank you all and what a relief to know that everyone is safe out there. Gracias a dios.”
As reported yesterday all in-house AMResorts guests were relocated to either on-property shelters or other properties within the region to withstand the storm.
Guests remained in their relocated areas until the storm completely passes through the destination, with plans of returning to their original resorts as early as last tonight or today.
Here’s a resort-by-resort update from AMResorts:
AMResorts says it is waiting for reports from the following resorts: Zoetry Agua Punta Cana (guests were relocated to Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa) and Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa (guests were relocated to Dreams Dominicus La Romana Resort & Spa and Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa).
AMResorts’ inclement weather policy remains in effect for in-house or arriving guests travelling to and from all AMResorts properties within the D.R. through Sept. 23
AMResorts guests who are unable to depart due to airport closures and flight cancellations will be offered accommodations and all services at the rates indicated below by brand on a USD per person, per night all-inclusive basis, to be paid directly at the hotel. These inclement weather rates are extended as a special courtesy due to the situation, subsidized by the resort and not available otherwise.
No-show/cancellation fees will be waived for guests who are unable to arrive due to airport closures and the cancellation of flights relating to these storms. These guests will be able to arrive on a later date with a few different options for travel.
For AMResorts guests choosing to reschedule at the same resort, AMResorts says it will honour the current rates up to the end of 2017 based upon availability. Any days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day are not included in this policy.