After reaching historic levels last year, the country’s tourism sector has begun its recovery from the onslaught of Hurricane Fiona on the island with an increase in hotel bookings and trips, as well as the interest of foreign tourists in visiting Puerto Rico. industry leaders consulted REPRESENTATIVE.
According to an analysis released yesterday by Discover Puerto Rico (DMO), the attitude of travelers to visiting the island after the impact of the atmospheric system remains stable at 46%, while 21% of those surveyed indicated that they would visit the Puerto Rico area. in the next 12 months.
However, Edward Zayas, DMO’s chief strategy officer, acknowledged that the emergency had caused a brief drop in tourism activity, and he insisted that they work to reach the number they had.
“Obviously, the situation that Puerto Rico has experienced with earthquakes, pandemics and hurricanes is having an impact. In the end, we will recover, but we must work. If we reached the numbers in 2021 and had the same pace this year, not all of this comes from inaction. If we work hard for this, we will work harder to restore the market we had,” said Zayas.
According to the study, tourists believe that the most affected areas of the island are located in the east, south and west, and the problem with electricity is the main problem facing the country, as indicated by 89% of those surveyed.
Still, almost two weeks after Fiona passed through Puerto Rico, tourists are keeping their travel plans, Ricardo Cortez, Discover’s director of communications, assured, although there have been instances of cancellations and postponements of vacations planned for these weeks of emergencies. .
“The information we have indicates that the vast majority of them have kept their travel plans in Puerto Rico. There is a part that he canceled and postponed, ”said Cortez.
In turn, both executives stressed that this month the number of employees in the tourism sector increased by more than 90,300 jobs compared to more than 88,000 last month.
“There are 90,000 employees who depend on this business, who support their families in this industry, so with even more reason I say that we must roll up our sleeves to conquer this market again,” Zayas emphasized.
For her part, President of the Alliance of Travel Alliance of Puerto Rico (ATPR) Daphne Barbeito said that more calls came in this week and she mentioned that bookings remain stable, in connection with which she assured that the market will stabilize.
“We are starting to see travelers interact again to renew their travel plans. Obviously, there was zero activity last week, but already today (yesterday) and yesterday (Wednesday) we started to see the movement of these clients, starting to return to the issue of coordinating their holidays, ”said Barbeito.
In addition, the President stressed that the interest of Puerto Ricans is still focused on traditional destinations in Latin America and Europe.
Another favorite destination is represented by Disney World. However, regarding this destination, he warned that after the impact of Hurricane Yang in the US state of Florida, it could affect traveler cancellations, especially at some theme parks.
“Obviously there was a pause in the period of the phenomenon, and this always changes everything that is subject to reservations, but at the moment I see a renewal of this pause caused by an atmospheric phenomenon,” he said.
In terms of cruise ships, after several months of absence of cruise ships with base ports in Puerto Rico, they will start arriving in San Juan again in October, for which they have strengthened their offers for this tourism sector.
Meanwhile, the hotel industry hasn’t had a major impact due to the atmospheric system, which is why Joaquín Bolivar, president of the Association of Hotels and Tourism of Puerto Rico (Ahtpr), assured that this month will end positively and forecast good booking volume for the months of October and November.
“Fortunately, we thought there would be an immediate downturn. There was a very small drop at the time, but October and November look very good. The effect was not visible, as one might imagine,” said Bolivar. “The work is very good. September will end with very good numbers,” he continued.
However, he acknowledged that Hurricane Fiona had affected hotel occupancy in the southern part of the island.
“Unfortunately, there will be a collision in the south, but in areas that were not affected by the hurricane, things are still going well,” Bolivar said.
Reduces demand in hotels
Meanwhile, the situation in the island’s hotels does not look encouraging, given the significant drop in demand, mainly due to the lack of electricity, which reduced the interest of guests in booking rooms.
“Demand has dropped a lot. Every time such an event occurs, both locals and foreigners endure their trips to Puerto Rico until they sort out the current situation,” said Xavier Ramirez, president of the Association of Puerto Rican Hotels and Inns (Apphp).
REPRESENTATIVE attempted to get a response from the Puerto Rico Travel Company (PRTC) but had not received a response at the time of publication.