Milton Segarra, CEO & President of Meet Puerto Rico, opened a press conference at IMEX yesterday with a promise to share the most up-to-date information with the media and Meet Puerto Rico's partners.
"We always make sure that our clients, the media, and our members get the information from us," said Segarra. "All that is happening in Puerto Rico, we will tell you. That's our commitment."
Without minimizing the tragedy and destruction that the island suffered from Hurricane Maria, Segarra noted that news photos and videos of the island give the impression that the island is incapable of being visited -- or of hosting meetings. That is not true, Segarra says. Seventy-five percent of the ports are open, about 80 percent of gas stations are pumping gas, and 329 weekly U.S. flights and 38 international are coming into San Juan's airport, Luis Munoz Marín International Airport; by the end of October, all flights into Luis Munoz airport should be back to a regular schedule.
Seven hotels are closed entirely, but within the next few weeks, most hotels will be accepting reservations immediately. By Oct. 31, 23 hotels will be open and accepting reservations; by Nov. 30, that number will reach 32. (Head here
for current information.)
The Puerto Rico Convention Center, while fully operational, is currently being used for governmental and relief operations.
Segarra said that Puerto Rico, which largely relies on tourism, needs people to keep coming for work and play despite the difficult situation that much of the island and its residents face.
"I live in Puerto Rico," he said. "I know exactly what we've been going through. But the reality is this: Tourism is a very important economic development component....There are 75,000 people that work and depend on the tourism industry in Puerto Rico."
Segarra also noted that the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, a citywide convention, will take place as scheduled in January 2018.