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On Sept. 11, a rainbow cascaded over the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center located on the Savannah River,
serving as a positive inspiration after the onset of Hurricane Irma. Photo by Philip Lancaster

Fla. Convention Centers Reopen
Quickly after Irma

Jonathan Trager

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, many groups postponed their conventions with convention centers shut down but emerging structurally unscathed by the storm.
The Florida Keys took the brunt of the impact from Irma. Visitors have been asked to indefinitely postpone any near-term plans to vacation in the island chain.

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Hurricane Irma Spares Most Hotels

By Grant Broadhurst

As Hurricane Irma blazed through Florida and the southeast, it damaged, disrupted and displaced millions but the hotel industry saw few, if any, major properties sustaining serious damage.
While the hotel association representing greater Miami and beaches reported some closures, related groups in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Charleston, and Puerto Rico reported only minimal damage to their respective member’s properties, although some hotels remain closed for clean up or repairs.

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VISIT FLORIDA Offers Free Hurricane Insurance

Todd McElwee

VISIT Florida knows hurricane season is the Sunshine State’s most infamous time.
And although the state’s DMO says the probability a meeting may be impacted by weather is very low it recognizes meeting planners are reluctant to stage an event during the period. Addressing this perception and minimizing risk VISIT FLORIDA has developed Cover Your Event insurance, a free program reimbursing an organization for a cancellation due to a named hurricane during August, September, October and November .

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“Baptism by Fire:” Don Welsh of Dest. Intl. Named Temporary Meeting Chair of Group he Just Joined

Jonathan Trager

“In all honesty, I thought he was kidding,” Don Welsh President & CEO of Destinations International, told USAE when he found himself named temporary Chairman of the affiliate members meeting of the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 22nd General Assembly held last week in Chengdu, China.

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HOTS Non Scaredy Cats ... Thankfully the bell did not toll for Ernest Hemingway’s cats.
House Beautiful reports the 54 cats living at the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum and the museum’s general manager, Jacque Sands, chose not to leave the property during Hurricane Irma. Mariel Hemingway, an Oscar-nominated actress who is one of the late writer’s granddaughters, begged the 72-year old employee to leave. Sands told the New York Times she was compelled to see the property and the animals through the hurricane.
Ten employees of the house museum also remained on site with the cats. Its 18-inch-thick limestone walls provided adequate protection from the storm.
“When we started to round up the cats to take them inside, some of them actually ran inside knowing it was time to take shelter,” the house’s curator, Dave Gonzales, said of the felines, many of which have six or seven toes (thanks to their forebear, Ernest Hemingway’s original six-toed cat, Snow White).
To HOTS it seems like neither Hurricane Irma nor the snows of Kilimanjaro could harm the cats or those looking out for them.

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