UK travel agents caught in Hurricane Ian all ‘safe and sound’

By Linsey McNeill
29/09/2022
Home » UK travel agents caught in Hurricane Ian all ‘safe and sound’

At least 30 travel agents on a fam trip to Orlando were caught in Hurricane Ian as it battered Florida yesterday.

Some 2.4m properties lost power yesterday as one of the most dangerous storms to hit the US in years made landfall, causing severe flooding in some areas.

A group of 18 agents were on a Gold Medal fam trip and sat out the storm in their hotel rooms.

A Gold Medal spokesperson said: “Thankfully, our group is all safe and sound. They managed a VIP day at Universal park before it closed an a number of site inspections of Universal hotels.

“Hopefully they can put this down to being a good opportunity to experience what can happen to their customers when they visit, they can reassure them of how well the local tourism infrastructure is prepared and able to keep visitors safe, and how an operations team like ours can quickly and efficiently make the necessary changes to travel arrangements in concert with its supplier partners.”

The agents were forced to post-pone their flights home earlier this week as airports were closed for at least two days, but Travel Gossip understands the Gold Medal group will be flying back tomorrow and another group on Saturday.

Florida Keys and Key West said its major infrastructure had not been badly damaged by the hurricane, which has now been downgraded by the National Hurricane Center to a tropical storm as it moves northwest.

Key West International Airport is planning to reopen this morning.

The Florida Keys Overseas Highway, including all 42 bridges, is open but travellers should be aware of the potential for debris and standing water.

Many roads are flooded in Key West because of storm surge or are impassible due to fallen trees, according to Alyson Crean, the city’s public information officer.

Water levels on flooded streets should begin to recede by Thursday morning and Crean said it will take several days for Key West Community Services and Florida Department of Transportation personnel to finish removing debris from streets.

About 950 buildings in the Keys were without power last night, but this is expected be restored by this evening. It said ‘nearly all’ tourist accommodation escaped without significant damage, and state parks, attractions and activities will reopen in the coming days.

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