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Still Reeling, Still Hopeful: A Status Update from Meet Puerto Rico

Meet Puerto Rico’s president outlines how his destination is faring after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.

Coming on the heels of Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard, taking out communications, taking down buildings, damaging a dam, and causing what many are calling a humanitarian crisis as residents suffer from a lack of basics including food, water, and electricity. The island’s meetings and convention marketing organization, Meet Puerto Rico, reports that its team is safe and accounted for, and that it is working with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association to assess damage to its meetings and hospitality infrastructure.

MPR President and CEO Milton Segarra said in a recent statement that there is some good news: The Puerto Rico Convention Center did not sustain any significant damage. It currently is being used as a headquarters for government relief efforts and as a refugee and rescue center for people who need medical attention. Many hotels also are intact and able to house local and international relief workers, law enforcement, and government officials, as well as guests.

According to the PRTC, the following hotels are closed and not taking new reservations until further notice:
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
W Retreat & Spa in Vieques
Gran Melia
Coral by the Sea Hotel
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa (planning to reopen at the end of the year)
Royal Isabela
ESJ Azul

This hotel is open, but not taking new reservations prior to October 9:
Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino

These hotels are open, but not taking new reservations prior to October 15:
Hyatt Place San Juan
Hyatt House San Juan
Verdanza Hotel

The following hotels are open, but not taking new reservations prior to October 22:
Hyatt Hacienda del Mar (Dorado)
Hotel El Convento
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado
La Concha Resort
InterContinental San Juan in Isla Verde
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
The Wave Hotel
Holiday Inn Express San Juan Condado Hotel by IHG
Canario Boutique Hotel
Coral Princess Hotel
At Wind Chimes Boutique Hotel
Best Western Condado Palm Inn & Suites
Comfort Inn San Juan
Hotel Miramar
Hotel Villa Montaña & Spa

The following hotels are not accepting existing or new reservations through October 31:
Caribe Hilton
The Condado Plaza Hilton
Embassy Suites by Hilton Dorado del Mar Beach Resort
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Juan Hotel & Casino
Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan
El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan

The El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, is no longer accepting existing or new reservations through December 31.

Segarra pointed to this FEMA page  as a good resource for updates on power, water, and other services. It also provides information on the best ways to support survivors in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were devastated by Hurricane Irma.

While Puerto Rico remains in dire straights in the immediate aftermath, Segarra is optimistic that it will be able to recover and again be a strong destination for meetings and events. MPR staffers intend to maintain their travels to industry trade shows this fall, including IMEX America in Las Vegas October 10–12.

Segarra said, “As you know, Puerto Rico has always been one of the most desired meeting and convention destinations, and we intend to continue that tradition soon.”

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