Discover Puerto Rico reports $129M in meetings, events for fiscal year 2023
Discover Puerto Rico is closing fiscal year 2023 with record numbers in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector, driven by a “strong roster of events hosted in the destination, and a lineup of those forthcoming this year and the following,” the destination marketing organization said.
In a statement, Discover Puerto Rico confirmed that the economic impact of fiscal year 2023 (groups booked from July to May) is $129.5 million, or 16% higher than the same timeframe in fiscal year 2022, and 57% higher than fiscal year 2019.
Puerto Rico’s expanding infrastructure and value propositions, including no passport or currency exchange required for U.S. travelers, make it an attractive MICE destination, coupled with the island’s rich and diverse culture, which cements its appeal for meeting planners and attendees, Discover Puerto Rico officials said.
“On top of a record-breaking year for Puerto Rico in MICE in 2022, this year is continuing strong with the island hosting a wide variety of events, and bookings for venues on the rise. Our booking statistics in MICE demonstrate that the island’s meetings spaces continue to drive record-breaking success,” said Ed Carey, chief sales officer at Discover Puerto Rico.
“We look forward to maintaining the momentum into the next fiscal year and keeping our presence as a premier hosting destination,” Carey added.
Booked group room nights in 2022 doubled those from 2021, and the number of events currently booked for the remainder of 2023 is 41% higher compared with the same time last year, and 89% higher than the 2019 benchmark, the organization stated.
Travel spending increased by 26.7% as of January, compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Not coincidentally, there was a 26.2% increase in air passengers as of January this year, compared with the same period in 2019, and a 24.4% increase in hotel demand.
The island has more than 16,750 short-term rentals available through services such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and Join a Join as of March. Hotels and rentals generated more than $500 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2023, which is 24% higher than 2022 and 78% higher than pre-pandemic revenue.
To-date in 2023, Puerto Rico has hosted several conferences and events including the American Society of Travel Agents, the WWE and the Women in Travel Summit.
Three more major conferences are scheduled for the rest of the year, namely, the Society of American Traveler Writers (Sept. 7-11), the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (Oct. 4-7), and the Trade Show News Network (Oct. 27-29).