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5th edition of Puerto Rico Open generates $4.7M ‘greens’

Local golf legend Juan "Chi Chi" Rodríguez and Tourism Company Chief Mario González-Lafuente. (Courtesy: Empresarios Magazine)

The 5th edition of the Puerto Rico Open taking place in Río Grande through Sunday will generate some significant “greens” for the island, estimated at more than $4.7 million in direct benefits and more than $22 million in indirect economic activity, Tourism Company Executive Director Mario González-Lafuente said during a news conference Tuesday.

The event, which is part of the Puerto Rico Golf Association’s PGA Tour, will also expose the destination to an estimated 100 million households through Golf Channel programming, in addition to the more than 65,000 people that will attend the Open at the Trump International Golf Course in Río Grande, he said.

“This event has become the most important and only PGA event in the Caribbean that also significantly impacts our economy and sports Tourism,” said González Lafuente, adding the government has invested $2.4 million to become the event’s main sponsor.

“For the Tourism Company, sporting events like the Puerto Rico Open establish a direct link to get tourists to become more familiar with the island, its people, athletes, culture and natural beauties, and to come to the destination and contribute positively to the hospitality industry and the economy,” he said, noting that the event will generate some 6,500 room-nights at local hotels.

“At the end of the day it generates jobs and an economic impact for our island,” he said.

Furthermore, the sporting event fits into the agency’s strategy of targeting the high-income traveler market by playing up the properties that appeal to that segment, such as the W Retreat & Spa in Vieques, the St. Regis Bahía Beach Resort in Río Grande, the J.W. Marriott, and the planned $51.6 million Costa Isabela project announced last month. The strategy also calls for marketing the island’s world-class golf courses.

That said, he noted the Tourism Company has signed on to sponsor the Puerto Rico Open through 2014, with an investment of $4.8 million, or $2.4 million per year.

“This [sponsorship] has already been approved by the board of directors. I think it is a good investment to ensure that this event continues in Puerto Rico, for obvious reasons. It retains continuity and it is an event that is growing,” said González-Lafuente. “The feedback we have received from PGA is that it is an event that for its age is considered one of the best.”

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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