*By Amanda Weston* Puerto Rico is back open for business one year after Hurricane Maria battered the island ー and now the island territory has to tackle perception. "We've been in the headlines and in mainstream media for so long with so many pictures \[of devastation\]," Carla Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, told Cheddar at the Skift Global Forum last week. "A lot of people think we're without power and underwater, but the reality is pretty different. The reality on the ground is that we've made significant recovery, and we actually opened ourselves for tourism back in December." And months after that, certain industries, like cruise lines, are just as stable as they were before the hurricane hit, Campos said. In fact, in May and June, cruise operators boasted record-breaking numbers. Campos said the storm actually created an opportunity for growth and renovation. Puerto Rico will open about 3,000 new hotel rooms at its flagship properties after a year of remodeling, she said. "It's actually going to allow us to open ourselves up to the world with a completely fresh face ー new hotels, new rooms right in the urban strips. And we're just excited about our future," Campos said. "There's so many opportunities, and that's sort of what we want to tell the world. Yes, we've been on everyone's top of minds, and now that empathy, compassion, connection with the island ー what we want to do is convert that to interest in travel." The Puerto Rican government also enacted a law earlier this year to launch an independent [Destination Marketing Organization](http://www.meetings-conventions.com/News/Convention-and-Visitors-Bureaus/Puerto-Rico-to-Launch-New-DMO-2018/). "Discover Puerto Rico" was designed to formulate a brand for the island and implement a consistent marketing strategy to attract tourists. And the government isn't the only sector getting involved. After a recent trip to the island, travel insight company Skift is also taking part in the effort with the creation of its [Skift Foundation](https://cheddar.com/videos/skift-launches-foundation-inspired-by-puerto-rico). The foundation offers aid for travel destinations considered "under-resourced." Part of that mission is training and empowering local communities with advanced research and data, CEO of Skift Rafat Ali told Cheddar in a separate interview. "The fact that Skift is going out of its way to support Puerto Rico, I think it speaks to the transformative power of tourism," Campos said. "We all feel that tourism is a force for good. And in cases like Puerto Rico, tourism can really be that thing that takes us to a whole other level." For full interview [click here](https://cheddar.com/videos/puerto-rico-ready-to-welcome-tourists-after-hurricane-maria).

More In Business
Load More