Puerto Rico Assesses Hurricane Irma’s Fury

SAN JUAN, PR—In the wake of monster storm Hurricane Irma, the assessment of impact across this island is continuing. The Category 5 storm did not hit the island full bore, but according to the government, left some one million inhabitants without power and three persons dead.

According to the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.’s preliminary report, major tourism infrastructure and attractions are operational and the island can continue to welcome visitors. However, separate reports are that some 70% of the island’s power has been knocked out and may take weeks, if not months, to restore. Many hotels, as well as essential services on the island such as hospitals, are operational due to generators. Attractions such as parks and beaches are currently being assessed to ensure a committed focus on quick clean up in the coming days, according to PRTC.

Flights to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, which as of today is operating on generators, will resume after an initial assessment has been completed, possibly as early as today. Airport services, including car rentals, will resume when the airport reopens. Flight delays are expected, but inbound and outbound flights are set to resume this afternoon, PRTC indicated.

According to a report in Caribbean Business, five JetBlue flights were expected to depart today.

Puerto Rico’s port is being assessed with cruises to the island expected to resume shortly.

“After an early assessment this morning, we can attest to the fact that nearly all hotels in Puerto Rico are operational and apt to continue receiving guests,” said Jose Izquierdo, executive director of the PRTC. “The public and private sectors worked together to implement emergency plans. Hotels and tourist attractions across the island implemented safety measures before the storm that have allowed them to recover quickly. Travelers planning to visit Puerto Rico can be confident that their travel plans should not be affected, and that our industry is ready to continue providing the quality experience that distinguishes us. Our thoughts are with our Caribbean neighbors who have also been impacted by this storm and those on the U.S. mainland who may still be in harm’s way.”

Milton Segarra, president/CEO of Meet Puerto Rico, noted his organization worked closely with the PRTC and Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association preparing for Hurricane Irma, urging members, staff and clients to take the appropriate measures to protect life and property.

“We are happy to report that we are all well,” said Segarra.

“We also are pleased to report after reaching out to the membership of Meet Puerto Rico (hotels, airports, venues, transportation services) that the Puerto Rico Convention Center and most of our hotels are fully operational, ready to welcome guests and accepting reservations. Most damages are restricted to debris, which is being removed. The Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is up and running on generators and reporting no structural damage,” he said.

Segarra noted no groups or site visits have been canceled.

“Our calendar of events remains unchanged and we remain ready to welcome all groups to Puerto Rico soon,” he said, adding: “We at Meet Puerto Rico send our good thoughts to all who have been impacted by Hurricane Irma and to those still in its path and send our prayers for safe delivery.”

The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. is continuing to work with all tourism partners to further assess damage and ensure tourist sites can resume full operations as soon as it is safe to do so.