Wilma worries local travelers | INFORUM

Frankie T. Smith

Most agents – like Nancy Auginbaugh, owner of Kvamme Travel and Cruises of Moorhead – advised customers to be patient until crews assess damage. “They’re really not giving us a lot of information,” she said. “We will be sending an office representative down in the next week to 10 days […]

Most agents – like Nancy Auginbaugh, owner of Kvamme Travel and Cruises of Moorhead – advised customers to be patient until crews assess damage.

“They’re really not giving us a lot of information,” she said. “We will be sending an office representative down in the next week to 10 days to assess damage.”

Wilma’s 100 mph winds slammed into popular Caribbean resort destinations Cancun and Cozumel, Mexico, on Friday.

Auginbaugh talked to a friend who owns four hotels at Playa del Carmen, 40 miles south of Cancun, who reported no structural damage and plans to reopen on Nov. 8.

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Most of the damage so far consists of swimming pools filled with sand and main floors of hotels flooded, she said.

“They are used to that,” Auginbaugh said. “Tourism is their No. 1 thing. They will have it up and running as soon as possible.”

Early Monday, Wilma winds clocked at 125 mph hit Florida’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.

Sandie Anders, manager of Fargo’s Bursch Travel, 3011 25th St. S., said the storm caused few inquiries from customers about Florida travel plans.

But there was considerable concern from customers hoping to head to Cancun or Cozumel in the next few months, she said.

“Really, it’s a wait and see situation,” said Anders, who told customers Bursch Travel would keep them informed as hurricane feedback becomes available.

The same was true at Carlson Wagonlit, 10 4th St. S., Moorhead, said manager Tod Ganje.

“We’re still looking to see what the assessment of Wilma is,” he said.

Ganje said his travel agency had no customers in Florida when the hurricane hit.

Potential clients planning to travel to Mexico’s Yucatan coast in the next month or so have been calling to see which resorts were damaged and how their plans will be affected, Ganje said.

E-mails received from resorts, mostly in Mexico, indicate structural damage appears to be minimal and water damage a larger concern, Ganje said.

Anders received periodic updates from Cancun on Monday, but heard very little by midmorning regarding Cozumel, she said.

“I’m hoping with minimal reporting that it (Cozumel) got by with minimal damage,” she said.

Both destinations are “huge” for Bursch Travel, she said. “Just in the last two weeks I’ve had a run on Cancun and Cozumel bookings,” she said. “It’s a big spot for people up here.”

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502

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