Cruise Ports Remain Closed As Island Looks Ahead To Attracting Visitors
Like a battered boxer rising to its feet to answer the bell, Puerto Rico is shaking off the effects of Hurricane Maria and is working to bring tourists back to the island.
Tourism is a huge part of the Puerto Rican economy and the government, people and businesses are anxious to get the island ready to host visitors to as soon as possible.
Here are the current update on the tourism situation in Puerto Rico.
• Nearly 85% of the island is still without electrical power. People are waiting two-plus hours to get gas to run generators.
• Puerto Rico officials have asked Congress for more than $4 billion in aid to “meet the immediate emergency needs of Puerto Rico.”
• In his visit to Puerto Rico, President Trump tells Puerto Rico officials to be proud hundreds haven’t died as they did in “a real catastrophe like Katrina.”
• Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles to relief from the U.S. mainland, the Jones Act, has been waived by President Trump. However, Trump later criticized San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for “poor leadership ability.”
• On Friday, Royal Caribbean delivered donated supplies and took out evacuees to Florida. Delta flew in a full flight of National Guard troops and law enforcement staff and flew out more evacuees to JFK.
• The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport recently reopened to limited commercial flight traffic, with only a few flights scheduled to operate today. A few airlines are already operating a limited schedule from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
• There are approximately ten commercial flights scheduled daily:
– Six American Airlines flights: five to/from MIA and one to/from PHL
– One Delta flight to/from ATL
– Two JetBlue flights to/from JFK
– One Spirit flight to/from Orlando
– International flights are expected to resume Sept 25
All travelers should reach out to their airlines and accommodations directly for specific information.
• The cruise ports remain closed at this time.
• Casa Bacardi, the Bacardi Rum factory and a major tourist attraction, survived the storm but remains closed.
• The following hotels are open but are not taking new reservations before Sept. 30: Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino, El Conquistado, Las Casitas at El Conquistador, Caribe Hilton, Hilton Condado Lagoon Villa, Embassy Suites Isla Verde, Hampton Inn Isla Verde, DoubleTree Hotel San Juan
• The following hotels are open but are not taking new reservations before Oct. 15: Hyatt Place San Juan, Hyatt House San Juan
• The following hotels are open but are not taking new reservations before Oct. 22: Hyatt Hacienda del Mar (Dorado), Hotel El Convento, Sheraton Old San Juan, Vanderbilt Hotel, AC Hotel in Condado, La Concha Hotel, InterContinental Hotel in Isla Verde, San Juan Marriott, The Wave Hotel, Holiday Inn Express San Juan, El Canario Inn,, Coral Princess Inn, At Wind Chimes Inn, Verdanza Hotel, Best Western Condado Palm Inn and Suites, Comfort Inn San Juan, Hotel Miramar, Hotel Villa Montaña.
José Izquierdo Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company has issued this statement:
“The past week has been a very difficult time for Puerto Rico and all its residents, families of Puerto Ricans living outside the Island, and travelers on the Island whom have not been able to go back home. Safety and security remains our priority as we continue to provide relief as quickly as possible.
“What has truly kept the spirit of the Puerto Rican people alive and lifted during these days has been the overwhelming support from not only the emergency crews and government agencies providing critical help on the ground, but also the tremendous support from the private sector and notable celebrities and individuals.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank everyone so much for the outpouring of generosity.
“Our relief efforts have been significantly augmented by the help received from our most loyal travel partners. Efforts like the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Adventure of the Seas’ humanitarian mission happening today to deliver donated supplies and take evacuees to Florida have been awe-inspiring.
“Royal Caribbean modified a voyage to help with these recovery efforts. Delta is another travel partner who is going above and beyond. They flew a flight full of law enforcement and National Guard to the Island from JFK and the flight will be returning later today on a humanitarian mission to JFK full of evacuees.
“As a legacy partner to the Island, we cannot be more thankful.
“We are deeply grateful to our most loyal travel partners for their committed support and generosity. What will continue to keep us strong and on a path to rebuilding will be continued assistance like this and I’m hopeful we’ll continue to receive support from other partners.
“We remain confident that Puerto Rico will quickly recover and the resiliency and strength of our people will get us through the days ahead.”