|Playa Esperanza in Vieques
Hoteliers and small-inn owners in Vieques — who have seen their occupancy rates drop by 14 percent during the first eight months of the current fiscal year — are being offered the chance to participate in a two-day training workshop that the Puerto Rico Tourism Company has scheduled to promote sustainable tourism.
The workshops, to be offered by representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, March 28-31, are also being extended to Culebra and hotels in the Carolina area. Topics on the agenda are energy, water and solid waste management and recycling programs for hotels.
“Vieques and Culebra are two island municipalities that could make the most of these initiatives, as tourists who visit them are seeking primarily to [take advantage of] the riches of its landscape, a feeling of general well-being, and connecting with nature that they do not get elsewhere,” Tourism Co. Executive Director Mario González Lafuente said.
“That’s why we are targeting this sector and we are sincerely interested in cooperating with hoteliers to reap benefits for them as business owners, for the islands as a destination, and the Puerto Rican tourism industry in general,” he added.
Tourism Co. statistics show that some 6,748 people have visited and stayed in Vieques from July 2010 to February 2011, down 14 percent from the 7,821 visitors that traveled to the island municipality during the same period the prior year.
The free seminars will take place in Vieques, at the multiple uses center on March 28 and at individual hotel properties on March 29. Workshops in Culebra will take place March 29-30 at the Ecological School and individual hotels, respectively. Finally, the EPA will take its conference to the Universidad del Este in Carolina March 31.
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