29 DEC 2010: This is the last day we will publish Travel Industry Today in 2010. It’s been quite a year for natural disasters, or disasters affecting the environment. Eyjafjallajokull and Deepwater Horizon became household words, and played a huge role in creating havoc when it came to travel and tourism. Here briefly is a reminder of what we went through this year.
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. It was the region's worst earthquake in 200 years, levelling many sections of the city, destroying government buildings, foreign aid offices, and countless slums. Though it was almost impossible to determine exactly, experts estimated that over 200,000 people were killed. Clean up and restoration efforts are still underway.
Chile was hit by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. Chile's electricity grids, communication, and transportation systems were badly damaged, severely hampering rescue and aid efforts. The epicenter of the quake was 70 miles northeast of Concepcion in central Chile. Massive waves caused additional damage along the coast. About 750 people were killed 1.5 million displaced.
April 2010 was a wretched month for disasters, the fallout from which had a huge impact on tourism and travel.
On April 4 a 7.2 Earthquake is centered in Mexico and shakes California. Though businesses and homes are reported damaged in cities and rural towns, because the epicentre was located in a remote area, most buildings remain standing.
On April 14 a 7.1-magnitude earthquake strikes China's Qinghai Province. Many buildings and homes collapsed and at least 400 people died and another 10,000 injured.
Also on April 14, an explosion in the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland—which had erupted in late March and produced minimal seismic activity—resulted in a volcanic ash plume in the atmosphere over northern and central Europe. Air travel in the region was halted for several days, causing the cancellation of several thousand flights and disrupting the travel plans of millions of travellers who were stranded for days in Europe and North America.
On Tuesday April 20, about 50 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast, British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded around 11 p.m. EST. As many as 15 crew members were reported missing. It takes until July 15, and more than 205 millions gallons of oil in the Gulf, before BP manages to stop the flow.
Massive flooding in Pakistan, in late July follows two days of record rainfall and kills over 1,600 people and leaves over 14 million homeless. Damage to infrastructure left many villages and towns inaccessible to government aid, stranding many survivors of the floods.
Hurricane season, (traditionally June 1 to November 30) this year was also memorable with eight named storms formed in September - the highest ever recorded, tying with the 2002 and 2007 seasons.
In addition, there were three occasions when three tropical cyclones were active simultaneously. The first set saw Danielle, Earl, and Fiona co-existing on August 30 and 31. The second had Earl, Fiona, and Gaston co-existing on September 1 and September 2. The third and most notable was when Igor, Julia, and Karl were active September 14 to September 18.
During a brief period, on September 15, Igor and Julia were simultaneously Category 4 hurricanes, a very rare occurrence and the first such since 1926. Both were still hurricanes when Karl was upgraded to a hurricane on September 16, the first time since the 1998 season that there were at least three simultaneous hurricanes in the North Atlantic.
Then not wanting to change its image late in the game, 2010 has seen ferocious winter storms this month pounding Europe shutting down airports and grounding flights. And, even now the north east region of North American is recovering from a massive blizzard that brought travel by air, rail and road to a virtual standstill.
So, our wish for 2011...clear skies and kinder gentler weather.
And to all our readers a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year.