A team from Sunwing has just returned from a tour of the Cayos region in Cuba, which they say will be ready to welcome visitors next month.
The team included Chief Operating Officer Andrew Dawson, Executive Vice President for Partner Development Eric Rodriguez, and Product Director, Ana Maria Lopez, for the Sunwing Travel Group, who were invited to accompany the Minister of Tourism for Cuba, Manuel Marrero Cruz. The team inspected sites in a number of spots including Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Ensenachos, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.
The intention of their visit was to assess the region’s recovery following the impact of Hurricane Irma just over a month ago.
They found that the Cayos have “recuperated well and will certainly be ready to receive guests once flights recommence early next month,” Sunwing said. Power and telecommunications are fully restored, water supply was never interrupted, and roads and sidewalks are clear. Further landscaping work is currently being undertaken. The causeways from the mainland to Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria are both operational. The Cayo Coco causeway is completely restored, with ongoing maintenance taking place this month to further improve the structure of the Cayo Santa Maria causeway.
"We are very grateful for this firsthand opportunity to see the incredible amount of progress that has been made in the area in just a month", commented Dawson. "Although our destination management team has been keeping us well informed, it’s extremely valuable to see it ourselves. We are confident that we will be able to deliver a first class vacation experience when we resume our flight services to the region in early November. We are already working on coordinating FAM trips so that travel agents and other members of the Sunwing team can also see the area for themselves in the very near future".
During their visit, the team was informed that all commercial areas - including marinas and dolphinariums - will be fully restored by Nov. 1.
Damage to Santa Clara Abel Santamaria Airport that serves the Cayo Santa Maria region, was negligible and the airport is already operational; servicing several domestic and Florida flights each day. Jardines Del Rey Airport in Cayo Coco suffered significant damage and no commercial flights have operated since Irma made landfall. The project to rebuild the airport is now in its final stages. All major structural work is complete, with some outstanding internal renovations only to be undertaken. There is every confidence therefore that Sunwing flights will be able to land as planned from early November onwards.
During their visit, the team also made site inspections of a wide range of the company’s top-recommended hotels and resorts. A detailed update regarding the individual opening date of each resort will be distributed tomorrow. Sunwing flights into Cayo Coco will be available once more from Nov. 7. Flights to Cayo Santa Maria will recommence from Nov. 10 onwards from Montreal, while services from Toronto and Quebec City have been rescheduled from Nov. 11. Flights to all other Cuban destinations are already operating as normal; with the exception of services to Camaguey that will recommence from Nov. 1 onwards.
All flight updates are posted at http://www.sunwing.ca/arrdepinfo.asp. For further details on affected destinations and alternative travel options in place for customers due to depart prior to these dates, please visit the Sunwing Cares website.