Last September Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and wreaked havoc on the island. It uprooted trees and electric poles, destroyed the infrastructure, and there was no electricity. The residents fled to the mainland to seek shelter with family members and friends, with electricity still not yet restored fully. However, life is finally returning back to normal and Tourists are coming back which is a positive sign for the economy.

NBC News reports that some of the damaged resorts are still not ready for reopening but the majority of hotels are back in business.

Tourism is critical for recovery of the island and the Puerto Ricans are trying to overcome obstacles to begin life afresh.

The signs are positive

Tourists from the mainland have seen the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria and have realized that tourism can reenergize the economy of Puerto Rico which is a part of the United States. The interest in tourism is evident from crowded coffee shops in Old San Juan where business is booming.

It seems all berths have been sold out in the Carnival cruise ship Fascination. It can accommodate upwards of 2,000 passengers and leaves from San Juan to tour the Caribbean. Officials in the tourism department are hopeful of handling a huge volume of cruise passengers to pump enough funds into the local economy.

Much more needs to be done

Tourists are coming back to Puerto Rico but the lack of electricity continues to be a major problem faced by the residents. The situation has improved in the capital, while areas in mountainous regions are struggling to meet their needs of power and supplies. They feel deprived. In some parts of the island where Hurricane Maria made landfall, the roads continue to be littered with broken power poles.

According to the town’s mayor, Rafael Surillo, even now nearly 70 percent of the people were suffering from power shortages.

The electrical grid in the island is outdated and requires upgradation. It has to be modernized which is a cost intensive affair. An alternative option is to explore possibilities of switching over to solar power which has proved useful in some areas.

Fast Company reports that well known athletes have taken a lead to help bring solar power to the island. They plan to coordinate with firms like Tesla and change the face of Puerto Rico. The systems are easy to install and have been used to get freshwater supply for the entire island of Vieques, apart from running the activities of a hospital. The scope of application can be extended to cover schools, community centers, and remote mountain communities which will benefit the people.