Take weather warnings seriously, Met official tells hoteliers

A senior meteorological official is cautioning hotels that they ignore marine weather warnings to their peril.

Acting Deputy Director of the Barbados Meteorological Services Clairmont Williams told a disaster management seminar organized by the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at the Savannah Hotel in Hastings, Christ Church that it was critical to take these warnings seriously so as not to compromise the safety of guests, staff and their plant.

“Most of our  . . . hotel plant is relatively close to the coastline. So you have to pay serious importance when small craft advisories and small craft warnings are issued because your properties, more than any others are the ones most likely to be impacted,” Williams said as spoke on the topic, Definition of Weather Updates and Response to such Weather Updates, to an audience that included representatives of the Intimate Hotels of Barbados (IHB) and the Department of Emergency Management (DEM).

He told stakeholders that hoteliers must ensure they are in a position to reassure guests and point them in the right direction during severe weather conditions.

“You have to be able to provide guidance to your guests who may want to go and have a little swim where a small craft warning or small craft advisory is issued,” the senior meteorologist said.

DEM Director Kerry Hinds, who also addressed the seminar, urged the hotel sector to have proposals in place for coordinated action to mitigate against a natural disaster.

Hinds also recommended that they identify specific ways in which the DEM, the Ministry of Tourism, the BHTA and the IHB can cooperate to improve the awareness of hazards among stakeholders and staff, and said it was important to develop  and adopt disaster mitigation standards.

The disaster management official also warned of the serious implication of poor planning, including extensive economic losses and loss of market share due to structural damage.

Meanwhile, Vice President of Marketing for Sagicor General Insurance Inc Mark Blakely repeated earlier pronouncements that insurance rates in Barbados would rise by between 25 per cent and 30 percent in 2018, with premiums increasing by some 200 per cent in certain Caribbean countries impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Blakely urged the hotel sector to maintain updated property values, insure their replacement value, opt for consequential losses or business interruption cover and ensure money is put aside to cover deductibles.

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