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Expedia: Travel to Puerto Rico up 28% in 1st half of ’12

Travelers from the U.S. mainland and abroad are flocking to Puerto Rico, travel website Expedia says. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Bookings to Puerto Rico made on the more than 100 Expedia and Hotels.com sites worldwide grew by 28 percent in the first six months of 2012, compared to the same period last year, the online travel company confirmed Tuesday.

While the U.S. mainland remains a solid market for the destination, Mexico appears as one of the fastest growing markets for demand to Puerto Rico, according to the information disclosed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Expedia is a key partner to hotels in Puerto Rico and around the world, providing hotels the ability to reach travelers in the more than 60 countries in which the largest travel agency in the world has a presence.

“Expedia has been a strong partner of the Tourism Company, especially in regards to our Fall promotion, and we are pleased to see not only an increase in growth from the U.S. but also from international consumers such as Mexico,” said Tourism Co. Executive Director Luis Rivera-Marín.

As shown by bookings for the first six months of 2012 on all Expedia Inc. branded sites, the United States remains a solid market and a top producer for Puerto Rico, making up nearly 91 percent of bookings to the island with nearly 30 percent growth in room nights.

Nevertheless, following the recent launch of Expedia.mx, Mexico shows a 137 percent increase in bookings to Puerto Rico in the first 6 months of 2012 when compared to last year, what makes it one of the fastest growing markets for demand to Puerto Rico.

According to data released by Expedia, the length of stay in Puerto Rico in hotel-only bookings is less than three nights, which is on the short end of the spectrum and is likely related to the typically high rates offered locally.

In response to this, Expedia is offering “dynamic packaging,” through which travelers can book their flight and hotel together in a vacation package that typically results in a longer advance purchase window and a longer length of stay at the chosen hotel.

By offering vacation package rates, Expedia protects the actual hotel rate because it is combined into a single price with the airfare, which also remains opaque.

“We believe that Puerto Rico has the ideal conditions to grow further as a tourist destination, which is why it represents a growing market for us in the Caribbean. It is our privilege to promote Puerto Rico as a destination to our global audience of travelers,” said Marco Tagliatti, vice president of lodging supply for Latin America and the Caribbean for Expedia.

Thanksgiving spurs brisk business
On the other hand, Rivera-Marín said Tuesday the Thanksgiving weekend is promising to be a good one for the tourism industry.

“Traditionally the Thanksgiving celebration attracts a lot of tourists that travel to Puerto Rico to enjoy our beaches and warm temperatures, escaping from the cold winter,” he said. “This is demonstrated in the hotels reservations for this weekend. Major hotels in the metropolitan area are already reporting a 100 percent occupancy for the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

He attributed the brisk traffic to institutional promotional efforts and revamped online campaigns.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 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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