Travel agents busy after active hurricane season - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Travel agents busy after active hurricane season

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Many Caribbean islands suffered significant damage during the recent hurricane season. 

Puerto Rico, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands were some of the areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. 

The hurricanes are keeping travel agents busy as they work to rearrange vacations.

“It's going to take them a long time to recover. Not only have they lost homes and businesses but the tourism dollars are not going to be there,” said Travel Advisor Amber Dixon with H & K Luxury Travel. 

Many islands in the Caribbean rely on tourism and were just gearing up for the peak winter season.

“December, January and February are the major times when they see tourists come in and really boost their economies,” said Dixon. 

She says we’ll likely start to see discounts and travel deals in the future to bring tourists back to the Caribbean.

“The hardest hit areas are definitely just closed. They're recuperating, they're restoring their infrastructure and when they reopen and assess and try to get tourists back we may see some offers on the table,” said Dixon.

Dixon is now sending clients to Europe, South America and Mexico. 

In August, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning to Mexico because of a spike in homicide rates.

“With the recent news, a lot of travelers were shying away from booking Mexico vacations but with the Caribbean out of commission for a while, the interest in Mexico may pick back up,” said Dixon. 

For travelers who still want to go to the Caribbean this winter, Dixon says they should keep their expectations low for now.

“If you are planning on traveling to the Caribbean, just keep in mind,that beaches were washed away and that natural beauty can’t be restored overnight or in a few weeks or months. It's going to take time for the Caribbean to fully recover,” said Dixon. 

Officials in Puerto Rico say power won’t be fully restored for four to six months.

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