Meetings Bumped in Storms Aftermath
Cancun and Southern Florida Pick Up the Pieces
The island resort of Cancun, Mexico, and large
swaths of South Florida continue to grapple with widespread damage
caused by Hurricane Wilma in late October. Dozens of meetings set
for both locales have been canceled and/or relocated as a
“The economic impact of the hurricane was bad, but it could
have been worse,” said Artemio Santos Santos, director general,
Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau.
At press time, Santos estimated that fully 80 percent of Cancun
and the Riviera Maya’s 50,000 rooms would be back in use no later
than mid-January 2006. “We are sending out e-mails almost daily to
inform our partners about which hotels are open,” Santos added.
While damage to the Cancun Convention Center was relatively
minor, two events the International Convention of Foreign Trade and
the Inter-American Congress of Cardiologists were forced to
reschedule from late October and mid-November, respectively, to
The Dayton, Ohio-based Association of Destination Management
Executives, scheduled to meet at the badly damaged Hilton Cancun
Golf Resort & Spa in February 2006, moved its meeting to the
Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In South Florida, Fort Lauderdale was hardest hit, but all of
the city’s hotels were expected to reopen by this month. Florida
Encounter, the state’s annual tourism convention, was forced to
bump up a month to Dec. 4-7 at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
In a nod to 2005’s unusually severe hurricane season, the city
extended its hurricane guarantee for meetings, first offered in
2004 after three major storms hit the state.
“It originally was designed to protect planners arranging
events in August and September,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president
of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau,
“but we realized that we needed to assure them in October, too.”