Fortuño moves on DMO; García-Padilla balks at concept
Gov. Luis Fortuño told Puerto Rico hoteliers Wednesday he will be signing an executive order next week to formally establish a public-private workgroup to outline the structure and duties of what will be the island’s Destination Management Organization.
The group will be required to present a draft of a bill to be filed in January to give life to the DMO that the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association has been lobbying for during the better part of the last two years.
The DMO would be responsible for overseeing marketing efforts and continuity for the island under a single brand and as a unified front representing all of Puerto Rico’s tourism components.
The New Progressive Party chief confirmed his intentions during a presentation by the six candidates vying for the governor’s seat in November.
However, during his turn to speak, Popular Democratic Party candidate, Sen. Alejandro García-Padilla, went the opposite way, saying if he became governor, he would be unwilling to support what he believed would be “relinquishing his responsibility.”
“We deeply regret that [García-Padilla] appeared uninformed regarding the PRHTA’s proposal,” PRHTA Chair Ismael Vega said. “The ‘not surrendering his responsibility’ claim would perpetuate the current state in which the island’s marketing efforts would continue to be subjected to political changes.”
“We extend to him an open invitation to talk with us, as he hasn’t been available for us in recent months despite our petitions,” he said.
Meanwhile, representatives from the Puerto Rican Indepencence Party, the Puerto Rican Workers Party and the Union Sovereignty Movement agreed marketing efforts require continuity and consistency, Vega added.
The PRHTA has proposed creating a DMO to generate demand for Puerto Rico, as the destination has been greatly affected by the decline in air and cruise ship passengers, as well as dwindling hotel bookings.