AMERICAN RESILIENCE: How Puerto Rico rebuilt its tourism industry after Hurricane Maria, from revitalizing its hotel scene to bringing hit musical ‘Hamilton’ to the island

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Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
The storm destroyed buildings, knocked out electricity for months, killed an estimated 2,975 people, and left at least $80 billion in damage.
The island’s tourism industry, which accounts for 6.5% of its GDP, was decimated, with typically jam-packed areas like Old San Juan becoming “ghost towns.”
Since then, Puerto Rico tourism has seen an impressive rebound: 2019 was a record-breaking year, with 5.2 million visitor arrivals and nearly $1 billion spent on hotels and vacation rentals, per the tourism board, Discover Puerto Rico.
The island’s tourism industry recovered four times faster than New Orleans’ did after Hurricane Katrina, the tourism board says.

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On September 20, 2017, the third-strongest hurricane ever to hit the US hammered the island of Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria destroyed homes and businesses, decimated roads, and toppled cell phone towers and power lines, knocking out electricity, water, and phone services. An estimated 2,975 people died, although the official death toll was only recorded as 64 for months. In the aftermath of the storm, 200,000 people — about 6% of the island’s 3.5 million population — fled the island, mostly to the mainland US. Electricity wasn’t fully restored for almost a year. The total cost of the damage was estimated at $80 billion.

Puerto Rico’s tourism industry — which accounts for 6.5% of its GDP, per the tourism board — was devastated. The US territory has been slow to recover from the effects of the hurricane. It took nearly a year for power to be fully restored on the island, and as of August 2019, about 30,000 people were still living in homes covered by tarps rather than solid roofs.

But Puerto Rico’s tourism industry has bounced back surprisingly quickly. 2019 was a record-breaking year for tourism, with 5.2 million visitor arrivals and nearly $1 billion spent on hotels and vacation rentals, according to the tourism board, Discover Puerto Rico.

“Following Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico saw a tourism comeback unlike any other, recovering four times faster than New Orleans after Katrina,” a spokesperson for Discover Puerto Rico told Business Insider.

Puerto Rico invested heavily in tourism marketing after the hurricane, bringing in big names like Jimmy Fallon and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the hit musical “Hamilton” and who is of Puerto Rican descent.

Here’s how Puerto Rico rebuilt its tourism industry after Hurricane Maria.

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Before Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017, Puerto Rico had just come off one of its most successful tourism years ever.

Per Discover Puerto Rico, 2016 was the peak year for tourism for the US territory, with 8.1 million trips …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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