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Gov’t assigns another $50M to help Puerto Rico tourism sector pull out of pandemic

The government of Puerto Rico announced the allocation of an additional $50 million to the tourism industry assistance program for businesses impacted by the decline in that sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The program seeks to provide operational support for business interruption as a result of COVID-19,” Gov. Wanda Vázquez said. “In addition to the initially eligible entities, through the expanded program, additional funds will be distributed to regulated hotels and new funds to strategic projects based on public policy determinations.”

The government originally allocated $50 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help businesses in the tourism industry meet their basic expenses. The industry had been affected by the closures caused by COVID-19 that came down in March, right before the start of the peak tourism season that runs from April to December.

As the pandemic has evolved, many tourism businesses have not been able to stabilize their operations due to the response to COVID-19 that includes imposing restrictions for tourists on the island.

“We’ve already assigned aid to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus in the tourism industry, which is one of the economic sectors most affected by COVID-19,” said Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF) Executive Director Omar Marrero.

“This additional economic stimulus package will serve to maintain Puerto Rico’s competitiveness as a tourist destination during and after the emergency,” he said, of the combined $100 million the government has assigned to the sector.

“With this aid, many tourism companies have managed to prepare and survive in a complex and unprecedented scenario,” Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Executive Director Carla Campos said.

“We welcome this second assignment and we will work hand in hand with AAFAF and the Treasury to make sure that the money reaches tourism companies throughout the island as soon as possible,” she said.

Finally, Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said there are several tourism-related projects in the pipeline that will be inaugurated and “will be great attractions for local and foreign tourists.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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