How Hurricane Dorian is Impacting Meetings and Trade Shows
Hurricane Dorian whipped through Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands yesterday, bringing heavy rains and high winds. As a Category 1 storm, it spared much of the main island of Puerto Rico from extensive damage, though islands off the eastern coast were hit harder.
Dorian will continue on its path heading toward the coast of Florida over the weekend through Tuesday. Forecasters are predicting it may grow into a Category 4 hurricane as it moves through warm waters.
With Labor Day weekend upon us, it’s a relatively slow time for meetings and conventions, CVBs report. While poor for business, this has worked out in the best interest of the safety of attendees.
Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan reports postponing three social events previously scheduled this week to September and October. However, the convention center resumed operations after being closed yesterday. A larger event planned for this weekend, the Caribbean International Auto Expo, will still take place as planned.
A statement released by Discover Puerto Rico today included the following: “Travel planners with upcoming events in Puerto Rico can be confident that their plans will not be affected. Hotels, including those in Vieques and Culebra, are operational, and most businesses are planning to reopen today. Airports and cruise ports are open, and airlines and cruises have resumed, or are starting to resume normal routes.”
In Turks & Caicos, The Sandals Global Sales Conference, which was slated to take place Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at Beaches Turks & Caicos, has been postponed. New proposed dates are pending, says Jennifer Pardo, senior marketing executive with the Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board.
In Florida, Daytona Beach has no cancellations currently, according to Kate Holcomb, director of communications for the Daytona Beach Area CVB. The Palm Beaches also have no reported cancellations at this time.
“Because this is a holiday weekend and we are a beach destination, there are not a lot of conferences and conventions typically scheduled for this weekend,” says Holcomb. “We will keep in touch with upcoming groups to be sure they have the most up to date information. We encourage everyone to watch the weather and contact their hotel directly for more information.”
Fort Lauderdale reports having eight groups in town currently, and so far, none have reported cancellations, according to Kara Franker, senior vice president of marketing and communications with Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB.
This weekend also happened to be a quiet one at Tampa Convention Center, according to Kevin Wiatrowsky, public relations with Visit Tampa Bay. “We have nothing on our calendar to be affected by the storm,” he says.
The same goes for Jacksonville, which reports having no large groups in town this weekend.
One meeting has been reported postponed to later this month along Florida’s Historic Coast, according to Barbara Golden, communications manager with St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. “We are in full prep mode,” she says.
In Orlando, Rosen Hotels & Resorts is opening the doors of its eight Orlando-area properties with special distress rates starting at $60 per night for those displaced by Hurricane Dorian. The company is also working to help evacuees find a safe home away from home. Call 866-377-6736 for assistance.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.