Puerto Rico’s “paradores” experienced an average 38 percent increase in their occupancy rates during the 2018 summer season in comparison to last year, members of the Puerto Rico Small Inn Owners and Tourism Association confirmed.
“This year, the summer vacation period, which runs from mid-May to the first week of August, has been very successful and we have recorded much higher occupanices, more guests per room and longer stays than in the summer 2017 high season in all of the Association’s ‘paradores’,” said Jesús Ramos, president of the Association.
“Definitely, the ‘paradores’ have modernized their product and we have become a great vacation option for local and foreign tourists who want to enjoy the experience of our culture and cuisine,” Ramos said.
“The amount and diversity of our attractions, alongside the variety of restaurants and mom-and-pop establishments across the island, make us the most complete all-inclusive, natural and accessible destination in the Caribbean,” he added.
Xavier A. Ramirez, head of the Association’s marketing committee, said, “marketing strategies, communications and value-added, along with the support and solidarity we have given to the Puerto Rican community has been a determining factor for these results.”
“After Hurricane María, we worked to mitigate the damage and quickly repair our properties and communities where we are,” he said. Fortunately, all of the ‘paradores’ had alternate energy systems and water and our mayors did a great job coordinating the recovery.”
After locking down access to fuel and communications, small inns, as the “paradores” are known, began to house response teams that arrived on the island. Subsequently, the hotels supported hundreds of families by providing temporary accommodation through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s temporary shelter assistance program, said Ramírez, co-owner and operator of the Combate Beach Resort in Cabo Rojo.
“Although there was great demand for our product and an increase in all operating costs, we decided to keep the rates we had in 2017, to help our people’s pockets,” he said. “Our solidarity kept us in the public mind and of their families, who chose to support us during the summer season. Several families visited two or three times.”
Parador El Buen Café, an icon the Small Inns Program, also reported growth in restaurant sales during the summer season.
“During stays, we saw an unprecedented increase versus 2017. In addition, there was an increase in the number of visitors who came to our El Buen Café Restaurant, while enjoying the hundreds of attractions in our area,” said Francisco Martínez, administrator of the hotel located in Hatillo.