Puerto Rico tourism tries to bounce back after damages of Hurricane Maria

Published on : Friday, October 27, 2017

Hurricane MariaPuerto Rico’s main airport recently started operating fully. Most of the island’s casinos are open. Countless restaurants are also back in business; however, with limited menus.

 
It has been about one month since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and the island is slowly recovering. But the island is yet to woo back tourists.

 
Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20. The Category 4 storm left more than 50 people dead. The entire island was also without power after the storm, and more than a month later, roughly 30 percent of customers have power. Gov. Ricardo Rossello has said 95 percent of customers will have power by December 31. Elon Musk’s tech company, Tesla, is helping to rebuild the island’s energy grid.

 
At the same time, about 70 percent of the island’s communication network has been restored. Water service is also nearly back to normal, with 70 percent of that service restored as well. Old San Juan’s colonial-era historic buildings remain intact, mostly unharmed by the hurricane. Cruise ships have also begun visiting the island again.

 
However, many tourists have cancelled their plans of visiting the island being unsure about what’s in store for them. In a typical year, Puerto Rico attracts more than five million visitors who spend nearly $4 billion. The industry creates jobs for more than 80,000 people.

 
About one-third of the island’s hotels are closed. In addition, beaches are closed to swimming because of potential water contamination. These are all issues that must be addressed as the island’s high season for tourism approaches.

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