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In Puerto Rico, tourists boost recovery though some still remain in the dark

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The music blared from the lobby at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino — which was finally packed with tourists and not just emergency workers.

For months, this hotel and others on the island catered to FEMA contractors and National Guard members. It was among the few that didn’t lose power in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, when the hotel scrambled to maintain industrial backup generators as the island’s economy ground to a halt.

“I’m very happy that the island is open for business,” said Jose Gonzalez-Espinosa, the Marriott’s general manager.

It is an island finding its rhythm again.

More than six months after the Category 4 hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, tourists are slowly returning and the U.S. territory’s economic engine is sputtering to life.

“We have seen some of the devastation but I think that they need us more and I didn’t want to cancel,” said Kim Haines, a tourist from Baltimore. “I think now more than ever we have to contribute to their economy because they need the tourism.”




Image: A beach in San Juan

Tourists are slowly returning and the U.S. territory’s economic engine is sputtering to life.