Travel Advisory Updates for Natural Disaster Destinations
Updated: Mar 7, 2018
With the recent natural disasters of Hurricane Irma, Maria, and Harvey; the flooding in Texas; and the earthquakes in Mexico, it can be difficult to tell where and when it’s safe to travel.
Our travel specialists regularly keep in contact with our suppliers who work in affected areas. We’ve contacted our members whose vacations could be impacted by a natural disaster, advising them on alternatives to their current destinations, discussing trip cancellations when necessary, the insurance implications of going to areas subject to advisory warnings, and even helped travellers who are in danger’s way get home safely.
So if you are looking to book a vacation in these areas in the near future, we’ve created a guide (updated regularly) to help you know which favourite destinations of Albertans are accepting visitors, when closed destinations are planning to reopen, and even included first-hand accounts from our members and travel specialists who have visited these destinations following a storm, flood, or other natural event.
If you want to know more about any of these locations, like if your favourite resort is up-and-running, contact your local AMA Travel Agent for more information. We have agents across the province ready to help you plan a relaxing – and safe – vacation.
AMA’s Guide to Summer/Fall 2017’s Natural Disasters
Please be aware that conditions, such as weather, can change very quickly. This guide is not an endorsement or guarantee of the suitability of any particular destination.
Note: Your travel insurance may be invalid if your destination is under a severe travel advisory. Please search for your destination from the Government of Canada travel advisory list or contact your AMA Travel Specialist before travelling to any at-risk areas.
UPDATE: California Wildfires
As of October 10th, there are several wildfires that are travelling throughout Northern California, most of which are in wine country. Areas affected include Napa Valley, Sonoma, Mendocino, Yuba, Butte, and Nevada. Several thousands have been forced to evacuate from these areas, however there is currently no travel advisory from the Government of Canada against travelling to the area. We will provide more updates as they happen.
As of October 16th, Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the following counties in California: Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, Orange.
As of October 25th, the travel advisory for all counties in California due to the wildfires has been lifted.
|Napa||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|Sonoma||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|Yuba||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|Butte||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|Lake||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|Mendocino||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|Nevada||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|Orange||reopened for service, Oct 25 2017|
|The Dominican Republic||reopened for service|
|Cuba (areas that are open)||Hotels in Varadero, Holguin, Havana, Cayo Largo, Camaguey, Varadero, Santa Clara, Cayo Guillermo are operational
Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria reopened Nov 2 2017
|Jamaica||unaffected by storm|
|Bahamas||reopened for service|
|Freeport||reopened for service|
|Nassau||reopened for service|
|Paradise Island||reopened for service|
|Grand Bahama Island||reopened for service|
|Barbados||unaffected by storm|
|St. Lucia||reopened for service|
|Cayman Islands||unaffected by storm|
|Grenada||unaffected by storm|
|Trinidad and Tobago||unaffected by storm|
|Antigua||reopened for service|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||unaffected by storm|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||unaffected by storm|
|Barbuda||avoid all travel|
|St. Maartin/Netherlands Antilles||recommend high degree of caution due to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, Jan 15 2018|
|Turks and Caicos, Providenciales||reopened Oct 10 2017|
|Puerto Rico||recommend high degree of caution due to damage caused by the hurricanes Irma and Maria, Nov 3 2017|
|Dominica||Recommend high degree of caution due to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, Feb 28 2018|
|British Virgin Islands||recommend high degree of caution due to the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, Jan 15 2018|
|Guadeloupe||recommend high degree of caution due to damage caused by the hurricane|
|US Virgin Islands||recommend high degree of caution due to damage caused by the hurricanes Irma and Maria, Nov 3 2017|
|Montserrat||reopened Oct 13 2017|
|Martinique||reopened Oct 10 2017|
|Anguilla||reopened Oct 13 2017|
United States & Mexico
See above for updates on the State of California.
|Cities / States||Advisory|
|Orlando||theme parks are operational and open to guests|
|Miami||largely unaffected by storm|
|Tampa||storm redirected, Tampa largely unaffected|
|Daytona Beach||reopened to guests two weeks following Hurricane Irma|
|Jacksonville||debris removed from beaches|
|Houston Texas||reopened Oct 10 2017|
|Galveston, Texas||reopened Oct 10 2017|
|Atlanta, Georgia||unaffected by storm|
|Naples||reopened Oct 10 2017|
|Florida Keys||reopened Oct 10 2017|
|Cancun||unaffected by earthquake|
|Cabo San Lucas||reopened, clean up completed following hurricane|
|Huatulco||unaffected by earthquake|
|Puerto Vallarta||unaffected by earthquake|
|Riviera Nayarit||unaffected by earthquake|
|Mazatlan||unaffected by earthquake|
|Acapulco||avoid non-essential travel due to high levels of violence and organized crime, Feb 28|
|Mexico City||reopened Oct 10 2017|
If you have a cruise planned in the area and want to see which ports of call are open or closed, you can follow their status on this daily updated list to see how your itinerary may have changed. Most cruise lines have already altered their itineraries, and should not be affected by the storms.
Open Ports of Call
|Amber Cove, Dominican Republic||reopened for service|
|Basseterre, St. Kitts||unaffected by storm|
|Belize City, Belize||unaffected by storm|
|Bridgetown, Barbados||unaffected by storm|
|Castries, St. Lucia||unaffected by storm|
|Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands||reopened for service, Nov 22 2017|
|Colon, Panama||unaffected by storm|
|Costa Maya, Mexico||unaffected by storm|
|Falmouth, Jamaica||unaffected by storm|
|Fort-de-France, Martinique||reopened for service|
|Frederiksted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands||reopened for service, Nov 30 2017|
|Freeport, Bahamas||unaffected by storm|
|Galveston, Texas||reopened Oct 11 2017|
|Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands||unaffected by storm|
|Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos||reopened, Oct 11 2017|
|Gustavia, St. Barts||reopened for service, Nov 22 2017|
|St. Georges, Grenada||unaffected by storm|
|Harvest Caye, Belize||unaffected by storm|
|Havana, Cuba||reopened for serivce|
|Key West, Florida||reopened for service|
|Kralendijk, Bonaire||unaffected by storm|
|La Romana, Dominican Republic||reopened for service|
|Montego Bay, Jamaica||unaffected by storm|
|Nassau, Bahamas||unaffected by storm|
|Ocho Rios, Jamaica||unaffected by storm|
|Orenjestad, Aruba||unaffected by storm|
|Philipsburg, St. Maarten||reopened for service, Dec 4 2017|
|Progreso, Mexico||unaffected by storm|
|Puerto Limon, Costa Rica||unaffected by storm|
|Road Bay, Anguilla||will reopen for service in late November 2017|
|Roatan Island, Honduras||unaffected by storm|
|Roseau, Dominica||reopened for service, Jan 28 2018|
|Samana, Dominican Republic||reopened for service|
|Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||unaffected by storm|
|St. John’s Antigua||reopened for service|
|Tortola, British Virgin Islands||reopened for service|
|Willemstad, Curacao||unaffected by storm|
|San Juan, Puerto Rico||port now open, Nov 8 2017|
There are no closed ports.
Eyes on the Ground – Recent Traveller Perspectives
Marilyn and Donald B. – AMA Members who recently returned from Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida: “It was like nothing had even happened.” The couple pointed out that while some broken branches had been pruned and piled along the roadside, the hotel showed no damage and the crowds were as busy as ever.
Kelly E. – AMA Member who recently returned from Miami, Florida: "I was in Florida September 24-30 for a work-related conference in Miami Beach. On the surface, the beachfront appeared to look and operate as usual, but as soon as you left the beach strip, you could certainly see the effects of Hurricane Irma. As most of our time was spent in/near Miami beach, we didn’t encounter any major obstacles. There were grocery stores and restaurants open nearby and “hotel row” appeared pretty much pristine. There appears to be a very well organized effort to get Miami back on its feet, but it is going to be a long-term project."
If you have any questions about how hard your pending destination was hit, or where to book your upcoming vacation, please contact your local AMA Travel Specialist. We keep in constant contact with our travel providers so we can vet the safety of our destinations. We also contact members who may be travelling to these areas in the near future.
Also, for those looking to book a warm holiday in the next six months, or those who are hoping to relocate to a different destination, it’s important to book now, as destinations not impacted by the storms will be booked up very quickly.
The Effect of Tourism – Why It Matters
For anyone travelling to resort destinations who may feel guilty for being on vacation, know that your money goes a long way to helping repair and recover from the disasters. We’re here to tell you that the dollars you spend in these destinations and resorts not only keep local residents employed but also improves the entire country’s economy.
A dollar spent as a tourist can be more valuable than a dollar given to a charity. Now, you should absolutely give to countries in need, but how you do it can have incredibly different effects. A few points:
- Money spent on local tourism industry is an investment. Rather than a large cash dump of charity money that disappears after it is spent, investing in local businesses creates a self-circulating system of income that will support workers and build infrastructure for years to come
- Hotel and restaurant staff are primarily locals
- By keeping these workers employed, you will be supporting not only the immediate businesses, but schools that train the workers, farmers that supply food to the restaurants, and even local artisans whose work decorates the hotels and resorts
So go and have fun in the sun. You’ll not only be rejuvenating yourself, but an entire economy that’s in need.