Recovering Puerto Rico ready to receive tourism again
After suffering the harsh destructive winds of Hurricane Irma, the enchanting island of Puerto Rico is recovering from the damage and bouncing back to business. The destination is now officially open for tourism once more with over 100 hotels operating and San Juan Airport offering non-stop flight service.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard in September 2017. The destructive winds and rains of this natural disaster devastated homes and streets and left parts of the island without electricity and running water.
The hospitality sector was also severely damaged, as numerous hotels and leisure facilities were partly destructed. In spite of the hardships “la isla del Encanto” has gone through since then, Puerto Rico is already advanced in the path of recovery.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), the official governing body of the tourism industry, has announced that the island is ready to welcome tourists again, after kicking off its winter season on 20th December.
After making great efforts to repair damages, more than 100 hotels are already open and operating, more than 4000 restaurants are taking orders and serving up excellent dishes and major tourism attractions throughout the island have been cleaned up and restored.
Jose Izquierdo, Executive Director of the PRTC spoke about the island’s tourism industry bouncing back:
“It’s been the continued collaboration with Governor Ricardo Rossello’s team and tourism industry partners that has resulted in tremendous progress and we’re thrilled to be officially open for tourism. Tourism is a vital contributor to the Island’s economy, so reaching these milestones not only will help build a stronger, better Puerto Rico, but showcases the resiliency in our people and destination.”
The island has been able to pick up the pieces in the past months. According to the PRTC, all airports are fully operational, with approximately 70 flights per day across 27 different major commercial airlines. San Juan International Airport (SJU) continues to have daily nonstop service from 17 major airports in mainland US, whilst additional nonstop flights are operating from Canada, Germany, Panama, Colombia, Dominican Republic and other islands from the Caribbean.
Accommodations are also bouncing back, as approximately 75 per cent of hotels are operational and taking reservations. Izquierdo went on:
“As first-responders staying at hotels in San Juan prepare to depart, this frees up rooms for travellers. Not only are iconic hotels like El San Juan Hotel re-opening, but new hotels are also opening, like Solace by the Sea in Ponce.”
Cruise excursions have also been crucial in Puerto Rico’s recovery:
“These excursions have helped San Juan secure over 70 transit calls from cruise lines through the end of January 2018. Furthermore, 80,000 homeport passengers have embarked from San Juan over the last two months, and 85,000 more are expected to do so through January 31, 2018, proving once again the importance of Puerto Rico as a major Caribbean hub and sightseeing destination.”
Finally, Puerto Rico has managed to re-open 107 tourist attractions across the island, a true feat considering all the damages caused. Some of the most important sites that were repaired and are now operating include Old San Juan, the Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Cueva Ventana, amongst others.
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