Tourism/Transportation

P.R. hotels, small inns report close to 100% occupancy over Spring Break

Cabo Rojo’s 18 beaches received thousands of local and foreign tourists over the holiday weekend.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company announced a surge in visitors across the island over the Easter and Passover holidays and Spring Break, which resulted in near 100 percent occupancy levels at hotels and small inns from coast to coast.

The agency categorized the major crowds at the beaches, diverse attractions and nightlife over the long weekend as “evidence of U.S. travelers’ growing trust in Puerto Rico’s readiness to welcome them again.”

“We’ve been encouraging travelers since late December to visit and see first-hand our comeback for themselves,” said Tourism Co. Acting Executive Director Carla Campos.

“Along with the reminder that one of the best ways people can support Puerto Rico is by visiting — staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, enjoying our island’s activities, and buying from local businesses, our ‘we’re open for tourism’ message is being heard loud and clear,” she said.

With data showing record-breaking performance amongst the 130 hotels that are currently greeting visitors, the agency said the tourism outlook is “very positive for the rest of 2018.”

Responsible for contributing roughly 10 percent of the GDP, tourism is not only vital to the island’s economy — it’s a cornerstone of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s economic development agenda, Campos said.

The Wyndham Rio Mar in Río Grande had a “historical weekend,” as did “El Monstruo,” a zipline that spans 28 football fields in Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park in Orocovis, the Rincón of the Seas Grand Caribbean Hotel, and Club Seaborne in Culebra, the agency stated.

The island’s comeback in the tourism sector is expected to continue over the next few weeks, at the Saborea Puerto Rico event this weekend, and the Major League Baseball face-off between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians on April 17-18 at the Hiram Bithorn stadium in San Juan. The games, which will be the first MLB regular-season contests in Puerto Rico since 2010, are expected to draw fans from both teams.

Small inns also report full occupancy
The Association of Puerto Rico Small Inn Owners also confirmed little to no vacancies over the Holy Week holiday and weekend.

“Since March 23 and during Holy Week, inns were at about 75 percent occupancy and at 100 percent during the weekend, from Thursday to Sunday,” said Jesús Ramos, president of the association and owner and Parador Villas Sotomayor in Adjuntas.

“This year, we had several elements that caused additional interest and a much higher occupancy in small inns,” he said. “Tourists and Puerto Ricans living outside the island have begun arriving, and we have seen a renewed interest in local tourism. There is much interest for summer dates.”

Meanwhile, Xavier A. Ramírez, general manager of the Combate Beach Resort, located in the tourist-magnet town of Cabo Rojo, said the “best news” so far is that no serious incidents have been reported at the El Combate beach.

“This year, we received more visitors than in 2017, and many repeat guests, which is an indicator of the quality of our product,” he said.

“Several grandparents came with their children and grandchildren, reinforcing the mission and culture of the Small Inns, which is serving families,” Ramírez added.

Meanwhile, Tomás Ramírez, vice president of the Association, said much of last week’s success resulted from the work and coordination among the hotels, the municipalities and certain government agencies to ensure safe access, cleanliness and order in tourist areas.

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