More than a week after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, the island of 3.4 million people is still struggling for basic supplies, including food and water. Ninety-seven percent of the island is without power and there is scant phone service. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo A. Rosello has called the situation the “greatest catastrophe” in its modern history.
The inability to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues on the island — including those in the events industry — has made the crisis even more acute. On Friday, Milton Segarra, president and CEO of Meet Puerto Rico, released a statement, acknowledging the outpouring of concern from the industry and providing an assessment of Puerto Rico’s meetings infrastructure, below:
“We at Meet Puerto Rico appreciate the continued outpouring of concern this past week from our partners, clients and media colleagues. Our team and families are safe and we and our hotels have continued to take care of our guests.
Our goal is to keep you updated on our plans to move forward, with the honesty and transparency you have come to expect from Meet Puerto Rico. We are still in the phase of assessment; however, we intend to keep you updated on our progress in real time – keeping you informed, engaged and connected is key.
We are pleased that our Puerto Rico Convention Center did not withstand any significant damages and proud that it is being used as the headquarters for government officials directing relief efforts as well as being used as a refugee/rescue center for those requiring medical attention.
Additionally, we are pleased and encouraged that many of our hotels can house local and international relief workers, law enforcement and other government officials as well guests, and in some cases providing wi-fi hotspots. Please click this link for the updated status of their anticipated opening dates for new bookings.
Our calendar of events remains intact and you will have the opportunity to hear personally from us at upcoming trade shows, conferences and events.
We will also provide updated links from government sources with the status of our power, water, diesel, airport and other services and relief efforts.
Many have asked how they can help or contribute. There are many national and local efforts and we urge you to check with your government representatives on programs you can participate in locally. However, we also provide here links to United for Puerto Rico, an initiative brought forth by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María. Please click here. Additional organizations can be found here.
As you know, Puerto Rico has always been one of the most desired meeting and convention destinations and we intend to continue the same tradition soon.”