News of Trump’s potential impeachment has had repercussions far beyond the political realm, with markets dropping after Speaker Pelosi’s announcement but recovering shortly thereafter. This is just the latest event that has caused uncertainty in the financial world that could end up having long-lasting consequences for Puerto Rico. The trade war with China, uncertainty over new happenings with Iran, the attack on the Saudi refinery, Brexit, all of these are events that end up having a direct influence on Puerto Rico’s economic future.
Doubt Surrounding Puerto Rico
Whenever there is any doubt of ambiguity regarding the United States’ economic future, Puerto Rico suffers tenfold. These latest events are only serving to confirm this long-held conventional wisdom regarding our relationship with the United States. Moving forward economically will depend on many factors out of our control.
Puerto Rico has arguably received more attention from U.S. media in the past two years than during any other time in its history. Yet, when it comes to receiving federal funds and assurances from both Congress and the Fiscal Control Board, Puerto Rico ends up on the backburner.
As we find ourselves with uncertainty regarding further investment into the island’s recovery, and with even further doubt regarding concrete measures or timetables, it becomes harder and harder to be able to state with any certainty what the immediate outlook for our island looks like.
The only way to achieve any degree of certainty regarding what will happen in Puerto Rico is to pay very close attention to events happening on the international stage. Events in places as far-flung as the Middle East, Great Britain, and China will end up affecting us just as much as events in Washington, D.C.
Tourism Economic Update
July’s tourism numbers have been eagerly awaited, as people are keen to see what effect this month’s tumultuous politics had, if any, on local tourism.
The local hotel occupancy rate went up by 1.7 percentage points compared to the month of June, going from 74.5 to 76.2. Compared to the previous years rate for the month of July, the occupancy rate remained steady, going down .2 percentage points from 76.4 to 76.2. Compared to June, July had 16,403 more hotel registrations, or 7 percent more. Compared to July of last year, there were 41,792 more registrations, or 21 percent more. Interesting to note here is that this growth in hotel registrations
for the month of July was almost completely due to residents of Puerto Rico staying in hotels. Out of this growth of 41,792, only 551 registrations were from non-residents.
A New Pattern of Recovery Emerging
Here we start to see an interesting pattern take shape. The three years directly preceding hurricane Maria, had on average more than 200,000 hotel registrations per month. Since Maria, this average has dropped by nearly 50,000 registrations. However, we are beginning to see the numbers slowly creep up. So far this year, there have been an average of 196,000 hotel registrations per month, with there having been 3 months so far surpassing 200,000 registrations.
The amount of hotel registrations from residents of Puerto Rico have skyrocketed in the past months, going from 49,000 in May to 113,000 in the month of July. While this is the time of year that locals go on vacation, this sort of growth is very encouraging for the future of tourism on the island.