Tourism Resumes Post-Irene

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The Wilmington Waterfront in Wilmington, NC. Photo courtesy of visitnc.com.

After Hurricane Irene passed through the Caribbean and much of the U.S. east coast late last week, countless travelers were forced to rearrange their travel plans due to a large number of flight cancellations and area evacuations, not to mention plenty of  unfavorable weather conditions.

Though the storm did cause some damage, including major flooding in the Northeastern U.S. and parts of the Caribbean, it looks like tourism in most of these areas is open for business. As of press time, here are the latest updates. Agents, please note some areas are still experiencing closures so travelers should check with their hotels and airlines for the most up-to-date  information.

Vermont Today the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing reported that most businesses throughout the state are open and many fall events remain as scheduled. However, because of high water damage to some roads and bridges, it is advised that travelers with plans to visit the area confirm lodging and airline reservations to avoid any inconveniences.

For the latest updates, visit vermontvacation.com.

North Carolina Yesterday the North Carolina Tourism Bureau announced that after Hurricane Irene, most of North Carolina’s 300 miles of coastline is open for business and ready for visitors during the week leading up to Labor Day and for the holiday weekend. However, visitors should still contact their lodging provider ahead of time to make sure the property is ready to receive them.

All of the southern beaches in New Hanover (Wrightsville, Carolina, Kure beaches and Wilmington), Brunswick (Sunset, Ocean Isle, Holden, Oak Island, Caswell and Bald Head Island), Pender (Topsail, Surf City) and Onslow (North Topsail) counties are open to residents and visitors. Most of Carteret County’s Crystal Coast (Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores and Atlantic Beach) is also open. Currituck County (Carova and Corolla beaches) opened this morning.

With the exception of Hatteras Island, Dare County (Duck, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Southern Shores) has reopened to visitors.

Most state parks have reopened, as well, with the exception of Carolina Beach, Cliffs of the Neuse, Dismal Swamp, Goose Creek, Hammocks Beach, Jockey’s Ridge, Merchants Millpond, Pettigrew, Medoc Mountain. In reopened parks, some trails and facilities may remain closed until assessment and cleanup is complete. Visitors with reservations will be notified and refunds will be arranged. For more information, go to ncparks.gov.

Go to  visitnc.com for the latest updates.

Assistance Pre- & Post-Hurricane Irene As the East Coast cleans up after Hurricane Irene, GOGO Worldwide Vacations continues to ensure all passengers booked through GOGO are properly taken care of and re-accommodated. Over the weekend of Aug. 26-28, GOGO’s 24/7 team fielded over 1,000 calls from concerned travel agents in need of re-accommodating clients.

“These phone calls prove the value of having a 24/7 sales and support desk at GOGO, and most importantly, proves the value of using a travel agent. Those agents that had bookings through GOGO were able to receive the immediate attention that they deserve and peace of mind that their vacation was being handled by a professional,” says Michele Kish, president of GOGO. In addition to having the 24/7 desk for support, GOGO continually communicated and educated the travel agent community on cancellation policies at affected hotels, re-accommodation policies, and the effects Irene would have on current and upcoming travelers through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If you would like to learn more about GOGO’s 24/7 Sales and Support Desk, hurricane updates, or GOGO, visit gogowwv.com.

Also helping travel agents and travelers, pre- and post Hurricane Irene, was Travel Impressions’ T.R.E.A.T. (Travel Response Emergency Activation Team), a standing team that responds to emergency situations affecting its travelers, weather-related or otherwise. The team worked effortlessly with travel agents, hotels, resorts, airlines and ground operators in East Coast and Caribbean destinations to minimize the impact on travel plans for Travel Impressions and American Express Vacations clients.

“Our first priority is the safety and security of our customers, so our T.R.E.A.T. team undertakes a massive effort to ensure our travelers are well-served during difficult situations,” said Steve Gorga, president and CEO of Travel Impressions.