Tourists in Cuban Resorts Protected in the Face of Hurricane Irma

Havana, Sep 11 (Prensa Latina) Foreign and national tourists who vacation today in Cuba benefited from an efficient protection system against Hurricane Irma, national press reported today.

Even though authorities still account for the damage caused by the meteor, most reports indicate that an overseas life-assurance system also extended to people in the touristic resorts in this nation.

Irma hit the entire northern Cuban coast with a particular impact in the center of the island, where there are places like Cayo Coco (Jardines del Rey).

Some preliminary reports found that about 51,000 tourists received protection and 36,000 of them were taken to safe places.

At an information meeting of the Defense Council of the Strategic Region of the Eastern Army, presided over by Army Corps General Ramón Espinosa Martín, they addressed these issues.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Tourism of Cuba, Manuel Marrero, who illustrated details of the situation in his area.

He said at that time that 60 percent of foreign visitors to the island came from North America, mostly located in the northern keys, who began the return immediately before the hurricane.

Travelers from other countries were transferred to safer hotels, with less risk, or to cities such as Camagüey, where all those staying at Santa Lucía Beach were evacuated.

Other reception destinations in more protected facilities were Varadero, Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos. Marrero said that the security conditions of private rental houses were also checked, as was the case of foreign tourists staying in homes without adequate conditions to withstand the impact of the hurricane or areas of possible flooding.

Cuban and foreign journalists reported that the 17 hotels in the Jardines del Rey resort (Coco and Guillermo Keys, central-north) were impacted by waves between 3 and 5 meters high.

But measures to take care of tourists, such as those concerning the rest of the population, covered all places that could be affected by the hurricane, officials said.

Leaders noted that the Jardines del Rey International Airport exhibits huge damage caused by the meteorological event.

Meanwhile, Cuban Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mayra Alvarez, said that the biggest damage is in hotel lobbies and roofs, but the rooms received minor impacts, so the recovery may be in short time.

The Tourism Minister commented that it is necessary to prioritize the reconstructions at that airport to assure flights when conditions are restored, especially in Cayo Guillermo, perhaps less affected (according to helicopter eye inspection).

Thanks to the action of these authorities there was no need to mourn human losses among vacationers, and they are optimistic about the recovery.

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