When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017, most people thought Puerto Rico would not be ready for the Spring Break 2018 season. The few that believed, probably were part of The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) whose rapid pace recovery effort has Puerto Rico seeing record breaking numbers over Easter weekend and Spring Break.
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC)
The Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), founded in 1970, is a public corporation responsible for stimulating, promoting and regulating the development of Puerto Rico’s tourism industry.
The PRTC markets Puerto Rico as a tourism destination through advertising, public relations and promotional activities; promotes tourism among visitors and residents; provides visitor orientation and technical assistance to investors; and evaluates tourism facilities and establishes standards of quality.
“We’ve been encouraging travelers since late December to visit and see first-hand our comeback for themselves. Alongside the reminder that one of the best ways people can support Puerto Rico is by visiting – staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, enjoying our Island’s activities, and buying from local businesses, our ‘we’re open for tourism’ message is being heard loud and clear,” said Acting Executive Director of the PRTC, Carla Campos.
With tourism making up an estimated 10% of Puerto Rico’s GDP, the early results of 2018 are a welcome sign and brings hope that the summer season will yield similar, if not better, tourism numbers.
An Amazing Transformation
Hurricane Maria created widespread devastation for the over 3 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico, leaving many without regular and consistent access to food, running water, and electricity.
In the early stages after Hurricane Maria, nearly all resources were put towards saving lives and repair of critical infrastructure. The fact that the Puerto Rican government, numerous organizations, limited help from the U.S. government, volunteers from around the word, and the citizens of Puerto Rico worked together and turned things around so fast is remarkable.
Now the beaches are crowded, hotels and family owned inns are at near full capacity, and night life is as good as a spring breaker could ask for. Puerto Rico has rolled out the red carpet for their guests, knowing the money generated from the tourists will continue to strengthen their infrastructure and full road to recovery.
A Great Example of Humanitarianism
A great number of tourists considered changing their vacation plans because of the devastation left in Maria’s wake, but thankfully many didn’t.
“We have seen some of the devastation, but I think they need us more and I didn’t want to cancel,” a tourist from Baltimore said. “I think now more than ever we have to contribute to their economy because they need the tourism.”
This similar attitude has been a rallying cry among many Americans who think the U.S. government hasn’t done enough to help the citizens of Puerto Rico. Areas inland of the tourist destinations are still feeling the effects of destroyed infrastructure, low food, and no electricity. Americans are adopting the attitude, “If our government won’t help, we will.”
It’s worth noting that tourists from around the globe are choosing Puerto Rico as a vacation destination this Spring. Travelers from Europe, Asia, and Australia have come to Puerto Rico to enjoy their vacations and act as a world citizen to help an area recover from a horrendous natural disaster. It is a great act of kindness and humanitarianism that many of these tourists are participating in.