The rise in COVID-19 cases has caused the cancellation or postponement of most in-person group events to at least 2021, Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization, confirmed.
“There was optimism in the early days of the pandemic that live meetings would resume in the fall. However, planners are now anticipating it will be 2021 before in-person events resume. A third of planners don’t anticipate seeing in-person events again until at least the latter half of 2021,” the entity said as part of a research update it revealed on Wednesday.
Citing a survey with the participation of more than 300 meeting planners across the U.S. mainland by Destination Analysts, the average planner has had more than 10 events impacted by COVID-19 through cancellations or postponements, Discover Puerto Rico said.
“Leisure travel has received much of the attention throughout the pandemic, especially in recent days with the rollback of the island’s opening to visitors. However, meetings and events remain an important component of the travel industry in Puerto Rico, with Discover Puerto Rico’s sales efforts generating more than 200 events in the 2019-20 fiscal year,” the organization said.
“Encouraging for Puerto Rico is that planners anticipate sports groups will be among the first types of events to return to gathering in-person. For the 2019-20 fiscal year, Discover Puerto Rico sales efforts generated the largest portion of leads in the sports and recreation market segment,” it added.
On the other hand, Discover Puerto Rico said during the pandemic consumers have said “that the types of product Puerto Rico offers is what they want in travel. And while that remains true when compared to other kinds of experiences, there has been a considerable decline in excitement for all kinds of travel experiences.”
In its report, Discover Puerto Rico said “consumers who are ready to travel are willing to play by the rules. More than two-thirds of consumers said they anticipate wearing a face mask if traveling in the next six months. There is an expectation for additional personal responsibility as well, including complying with social distancing guidelines and avoiding crowds.”
However, in recent days, there has been a wave of visitors to Puerto Rico who have defied the mandatory mask order during their outings, particularly in the San Juan tourism areas like Old San Juan and Condado.
“Much of the media has focused on Americans’ reluctance to wear masks. However, there are clear differences in demographics in who is willing to wear a mask,” Discover Puerto Rico said.
According to a Gallup survey conducted June 29th-July 5th, more educated and female consumers — Discover Puerto Rico’s target audience — are considerably more likely to wear masks, the organization confirmed.