It appears those with the travel bug have taken a bit of a step back this fall in North Bay. But Chris Mayne, General Manager of Mayne Travel here in North Bay, says a devastating hurricane season has caused some apprehension.
“It has definitely been a slower start of the season than most years,” said Mayne.
“Usually when the school year starts people start to book their Christmas and March Break holidays and everything in between. But this year with two or three weeks of successive hurricanes, not knowing what condition the resorts would be in when they traveled, plus just the warm weather I think a lot of people have hesitated what resorts will survive the hurricane season this year.”
One key location is Cayo Coco, Cuba. That area of the Caribbean received horrible damage when Hurricane Irma whipped through the area in September. It is also the location that Sunwing is planning to still book direct flights from North Bay starting on December 20th.
“I don’t think they have pushed back their opening date yet,” said Mayne.
“Sunwing vacations is still scheduled to service from North Bay to Cayo Coco on December 20th. The airport had been substantially damaged in the hurricane so we have had no word on delays of the opening dates or the first travel dates of the 20th of December. I am sure they are going to re-access that as we get closer, say a month out they will have a better idea of how it is falling into place but Cayo Coco was one of the areas that was damaged substantially by the storm.”
See related story: Sunwing returns to North Bay
According to Mayne, those who are booking trips are looking for the best value noting that resort destinations such as Punta Cana, Puerta Plata (Dominican Republic), Jamaica, and Mexico have been unscathed by hurricane activity this fall.
Mayne says travellers are also jumping on the cruise bandwagon again this year.
“To generalize, cruises are still a great idea for a lot of people,” said Mayne.
“If that December through March and April tends to be the dry season in the Caribbean that’s when the weather should be nicer.
“But if anyone has any lingering concerns with storms you might consider a cruise. Then at least when you are on a cruise ship they can see a significant storm around even 200 miles away and they adjust the itinerary to avoid the bad weather and whenever something like that comes through then it’s still a great holiday.”
Mayne also believes the warm conditions this fall have led many to hold off on their holiday bookings.
“I think that has been part of it in the last four to six weeks it has been such a mild fall for a lot of people it’s been easy to put off the idea of booking a winter vacation,” said Mayne.
“But in the last few weeks as the weather starts to drop, people will start to return to their normal booking patterns and booking that winter vacation for mid to late January or middle of February.”