As Hurricane Ivan bears down on Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico, the damage it has done to the Caribbean islands in its path, as well as the damage from Hurricane Frances just a week ago, were substantial, but not as bad as some officials had feared.

As of September 12, a report on the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Web site said that Jamaica had dodged a major bullet when the hurricane veered west. Initial reports indicate that "the majority of Jamaica’s tourist regions and airports suffered little serious damage." Efforts are under way to assess overall damage and return life to normal.

The island’s two main airports, in Kingston and Montego Bay, did not sustain any significant damage, according to the report, but Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston remained closed as of Monday due to inaccessible roads to the airport.

Two of the island’s main resort areas, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, lie on the northern coast and therefore fared relatively well, although news from the resorts in the south, which is the area of the island that took the brunt of the hurricane's force, are still forthcoming. According to news reports, there were 11 hurricane-related deaths in Jamaica, and a total of 50 across the Caribbean.

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Bahamas and Frances

Hurricane Frances visited The Bahama Islands early last week, but, with the exception of Grand Bahama Island, most islands in the 700-island nation sustained minimal property damage.

The destination’s main tourism islands of Nassau/Paradise Island were fully operational within the week of the storm. Its major resorts remained open, including Atlantis-Paradise Island, Nassau Beach Hotel, British Colonial Hilton, Radisson Cable Beach & Golf Resort,and Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino. After completing cosmetic repairs, Sandals Royal Bahamian will re-open on September 25 and SuperClubs Breezes will reopen on September 30.

Nassau International Airport is fully operational and cruise lines have returned to normal service into the Port of Nassau.

The Out Islands of Harbour Island, Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, Exuma, Bimini, Andros, and Abaco have reported minimal property damage with most tourism facilities returning to normal service and accepting reservations.

Grand Bahama Island was significantly affected by Hurricane Frances, but Grand Bahama International Airport was expected to reopen and resume normal operation September 11. In Freeport, the Best Western Castaways Resort is fully operational. The Sheraton at Our Lucaya will reopen on October 1 and The Westin at Our Lucaya will reopen on November 1. Assessments are still pending for the Royal Oasis Golf Resort & Casino, Pelican Bay Hotel, and Old Bahama Bay Resort.

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