Puerto Rico has taken a battering in recent days, with a series of earthquakes affecting the southern part of the U.S. territory. The island's tourism industry has had plenty of opportunities to prove its resilience recently; this will be another.
Another earthquake struck Puerto Rico early Tuesday, a 6.4 quake that is the latest in a series to affect the southern part of the U.S. territory. The U.S. Geological Survey said there were numerous aftershocks, though an initial tsunami alert for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands was canceled in the hours after the quake.
Damage was focused in the southern region of the island, including the towns of Ponce, Guánica, Guayanilla, Mayaguez, and Yauco. The Associated Press reported that detailed reports of damage or injuries were unavailable due to downed communications across the island.
Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vasquez told a radio station there were no immediate reports of loss of life. Government offices are closed and citizens are being urged to remain calm. Power is expected to be restored to affected areas later Tuesday.
The island’s tourism industry has been in a seemingly continual state of rebound and resilience since Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017. In the second half of 2019 alone, it faced civil unrest and narrowly missed Hurricane Dorian. Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketer, said that tourism operations across the island are operating normally in the wake of the earthquakes, but advised visitors to check with their travel providers and hotels to see if operations had been affected.
“At this time, two tourism sites, Punta Ventana in Guayanilla and the Ruins of the Lighthouse in Guánica, have reported damages, and there has been minimal damage to a few hotels in Porta Caribe and Porta del Sol,” CEO Brad Dead said in a statement. “While damage is still being assessed, it does not appear that areas outside the southern region of the Island were impacted.” He added that the island’s airport, cruise port, convention center, and capital of San Juan were not impacted.
AP also reported that a 5.8 magnitude quake that occurred on Monday caused damage to dozens of homes as well. The series of quakes started on Dec. 28, and are occurring along three fault lines in the southwest according to Víctor Huérfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network. Seismic activity may continue as the North American plate and Caribbean plate clash.
This story relied on AP reporting.
Disclosure: Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali serves on the 25-member advisory board to Destination Puerto Rico, as part of Skift Foundation‘s commitment to helping Puerto Rico in its tourism recovery.
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Photo credit: Damage from Monday's earthquake in Guanica, Puerto Rico. Carlos Giusti / AP Photo