87% of Puerto Ricans ‘proud to share’ Discover Puerto Rico’s tourism promo
A survey commissioned by Discover Puerto Rico to market research provider Gaither International revealed that 87% of Puerto Ricans are proud to share their culture with travelers. Additionally, the majority of respondents described the primary focus of the island’s destination marketing as positive.
Moreover, nearly nine out of 10 Puerto Rico residents expressed approval for the “Live Boricua” campaign across various platforms, including television, print, and digital ads. The campaign, which was launched nearly a year ago, received negative feedback from less than 1% of respondents.
“We saw that 86% of residents wanted tourism marketing to focus on culture,” said Alisha Valentine, director of research and analysis at Discover Puerto Rico, during the most recent webinar for the tourism industry. “With this survey, we see that 87% are proud to share the culture with visitors and that residents embrace ‘Live Boricua’.”
Brad Dean, the chief executive office of Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization (DMO), said: “We know that the campaign successfully attracts travelers and generates support locally and in the diaspora. This study is important because it validates that this support is maintained one year after we started the campaign and that visitors and residents are reacting positively to ‘Live Boricua’.”
More than 500 people responded to the survey, which included Puerto Ricans living on the island and abroad. Before the campaign’s launch, Discover Puerto Rico conducted a series of focus groups to see how different audiences, including Puerto Ricans on and off the island, responded to the campaign. Similar studies were carried out among people from major cities in the central, southern and eastern United States.
Since its debut, the “Live Boricua” campaign has been recognized and awarded on several occasions, such as the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) in Madrid and the Adrian Awards hosted by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).
The campaign’s cultural focus extended the benefits of the visitors economy beyond the hospitality sector and into cultural enterprises, supporting the economic sustainability of these projects.
The DMO’s chief marketing officer, Leah Chandler, said the campaign generated more than 120 million traditional media impressions in the organization’s primary and secondary markets between January and February. That impact translated into an audience of more than 5.7 million page views on DiscoverPuertoRico.com and more than 256,000 referrals to local tourist businesses’ websites or social media accounts.
The campaign’s performance is expected to continue with recent marketing initiatives, including the DMO’s foray into the TikTok social media platform, special campaigns highlighting southern and western Puerto Rico, and theatrical ads during the premieres of “Fast X” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” in May.
2023 kicks off with higher lodging income, increased passenger movement
During the first quarter of 2023, Puerto Rico’s tourism industry saw a 24% increase in lodging revenue, a 21% surge in passenger movement, a 21% rise in hotel demand, and 15% uptick in demand for short-term rentals than the same period in 2022, which already was a record-breaking year.
The continued growth led to a 3% increase in hotel rooms and a 29% expansion in short-term rentals. When the hotel supply growth is combined with expected demand, based on reservations, occupancy rates are projected to be slightly lower than in the second quarter of 2023 compared to 2022 (-2% in hotels and -5% in rentals), but significantly higher for the third quarter (4% in hotels and 18% in rentals). If the supply had not expanded, the second-quarter occupancy would have exceeded the figures reported in 2022. These projections underscore a surge in visitor numbers, the DMO said.
In addition, the tourism industry’s economic benefits are spreading throughout Puerto Rico. According to KeyData, during the first quarter of 2023, short-term rental reservations increased by 9% in the western region of the island, 5% in the northern region, 20% in the central region, 21% in the southern region, and 11% in the San Juan metropolitan area. The only region exhibiting a decrease was the eastern region, with a slight reduction of 1%.
The events, conventions and business meetings industries have also strengthened the visitor economy.
Discover Puerto Rico Chief Sales Officer Ed Carey noted that, compared to last year, there has been a 38% increase in the number of requests for service cost estimates and a 22% rise in quotes for lodging nights, and that the number of events booked and lodging nights have experienced growth of 56% and 20%, respectively.
“And, in a few short weeks, we will welcome over 800 travel professionals as the American Society of Travel Advisors hosts their annual global conference at our convention center,” Carey said. “This is a critically important event as nearly every major travel consortium, cruise line, airline, rental car company, and even travel insurance provider will descend upon Puerto Rico for this prestigious event.”
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