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Puerto Rico tourism industry recovers 96% of jobs lost with COVID-19

The strong 2021 reactivation of tourism in Puerto Rico allowed the industry to recover about 96% of the jobs lost in the Leisure and Hospitality sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, Discover Puerto Rico confirmed.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that between March and April of 2020, the number of people employed in the leisure and hospitality sector fell from 80,500 to 50,400, which implies a loss of 30,100 jobs.

However, by October 2021, the number of people employed in this sector stood at 79,200. This figure, which is on the rise, is just 1,300 less than pre-pandemic levels and implies the recovery of 28,800 jobs, according to the federal agency.

“We’re observing a recovery of the tourism industry that fills us with optimism. Not only is the industry experiencing record levels of revenue from accommodations and visitors, but the improvement is translating into the recovery of jobs that were lost during the first months of the pandemic,” said Discover Puerto Rico CEO Brad Dean.

During those initial COVID-19 months, jobs in the tourism sector experienced the sharpest drop among the industrial sectors. Positions were reduced by 37%. The segment that followed was the Information sector, with a decrease of 19%.

Tourism, however, is the second sector with the most jobs created or recovered since then. The 28,800 jobs recovered are only surpassed by the Commerce, Transportation, and Utilities sector, adding 33,200 jobs in the last 18 months.

Currently, Puerto Rico’s tourism industry is experiencing one of its best years. Revenues from accommodation until October exceeded $1 billion for the first time, Discover Puerto Rico officials said.

By November, 4.38 million passengers had arrived on the island through the Luis Muñoz Marín airport, the highest figure in at least a decade, according to the airport operator’s numbers.

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

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