Without much commerce happening and only one or two stores open since Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of Abaco, Abaconians cleared out of the island for the Christmas holiday, Abaco Chamber of Commerce Director Krista Albury told Guardian Business yesterday.
According to Albury, an empty flight leaving Abaco could not be found in the days leading up to Christmas.
“Most people either came to New Providence or they went abroad for the holiday,” Albury said.
“Every flight off of Abaco was completely booked. There were massive amounts of people leaving the island with flights full of people.”
Albury said there was simply no feeling of Christmas on Abaco and with nowhere to do any shopping, many people simply decided to leave.
“It’s a bit of ghost town right now…it’s not too ‘Christmasy’ there right now,” she said.
“A lot of people cleared out of Abaco during the holidays, looking to spend the holidays somewhere festive.”
Despite the grim atmosphere on the island, Albury said more people are talking about returning and “there is more commerce opening up every day”.
“There are definite improvements when it comes to overall cleanup,” she said.
“More businesses are cleaning up and repairing their structures. You are hearing from more businesses that they are going to come in full force by January. By January you’re going to see a massive increase in people coming back to Abaco.”
Albury said that with no true shopping experience on Abaco and with schools yet to fully open, Abaconians are still not moving back in force. But she is convinced that by next month, many of the Abaconians who fled the island in the days after Hurricane Dorian passed will return to begin to rebuild their lives.
“We’re seeing a start but nothing extraordinary yet. It’s promising versus what you saw two months ago,” said Albury.