Hurricane Maria damage affecting tourism in Puerto Rico

68 percent of Puerto Rico residents still don't power

In this Nov. 15, 2017 photo, some roofs damaged by the whip of Hurricane Maria are still exposed to rainy weather conditions, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A newly created Florida company with an unproven record won more than $30 million in contracts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. Bronze Star LLC never delivered those urgently needed supplies, which even months later remain in demand on the island. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

TURNERS FALLS, Mass. (WWLP)- Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017.

The Category 4 storm caused widespread flooding, destroyed buildings, and cut off power to much of the island.
68 percent of Puerto Rico residents still don’t power.

“That’s sad, I know that is hurting their tourist business in the winter which is a big boost for the economy and a big help,” said Elsa Weintrabu of Leverett.

Puerto Rico is usually a popular destination for vacations during the winter months, but fewer people are doing that this year due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

“We haven’t thought of going to Puerto Rico, especially with all of the trouble they have had down there, it’s really low on our list,” said Paul Calcari of Greenfield.

One travel agency told 22News more people are choosing to avoid Puerto Rico and fly to other Caribbean islands.

“A lot of people don’t want to travel there if they see the devastation they feel like they shouldn’t be vacationing and watching people struggling, said Mary Greene, Travel Consultant for Cruise & Company in Turners Falls. “They usually ask for other destinations they can go too.”

Greene told 22News prices at hotels and restaurants in Puerto Rico are lower to help bring in more tourists. She expects an increase in travel to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands over the next few months.

Greene said many of the smaller cities and towns in the outer areas of Puerto Rico are without electricity. Power isn’t expected to be fully restored until at least May.