The government of Puerto Rico and the NYU School of Professional Studies will collaborate to train a group of students on the hospitality industry, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced during the 41st New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.
NYU will receive a group of students in Puerto Rico for a two-week campus project, he said, following his remarks during the conference on the island’s tourism industry and the investment opportunities it is offering for economic development.
“Puerto Rico is a premier destination for the hospitality industry, and we are here today to make the global investment community aware of the incomparable benefits of our Island. We offer unprecedented incentives, such as generous tax credits and exemptions. With most of the Island now designated as an Opportunity Zone, there is enormous potential for investment,” Rosselló said.
“Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s tourism industry in the wake of Hurricane María is a key part of our recovery plan for the island, and this is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long relationship with the investment community,” he said.
The NYU International Hospitality Investment Conference is a hospitality finance and development forum that convenes global hotel chief executive officers, owners, developers, investors, lenders, and analysts who shape the future of the industry.
The announcement was made during a press conference alongside top executives and thought leaders of the hospitality industry, where Rosselló was accompanied by Conference Chairman Jonathan M. Tisch, Conference Co-host Nicholas Graf, Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Executive Director Carla Campos and the government of Puerto Rico’s Chief Investment Officer Gerardo Portela.
“Familiar with the devastation that hurricanes Irma and María caused, and the long, difficult road to recovery, travel and tourism are critical for recovery in the island’s long-term wellbeing,” said Tisch.
“We’re pleased that through the conference we are able to give Puerto Rico some visibility to a valuable audience that can support and invest in their future through the travel and tourism industry,” he said.
The Tisch Center’s work with Puerto Rico will expand beyond the conference, he said, noting the island’s government with be heavily involved in an academia project at the NYU Tisch Center.
“Certainly, a lot is happening in Puerto Rico, a lot that is so positive and that has become such a great case study for all of us, when it comes to bouncing back after devastations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Graf, who is associate dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality, said during the upcoming academic year, NYU and the Tourism Co. will be working on a relevant project for the destination’s development.
A group of NYU students will be engaged with government officials and tourism executives in the island on an especially designed field project based on opportunities and challenges.
“The government of Puerto Rico has enacted numerous reforms to benefit and attract hospitality investment,” Campos said.
“For example, a historic permits reform that reduces the time it takes to establish businesses on the island, as well as the decrease in red tape so that bureaucracy does not take time and resources away from the bottom line of your company,” she said.
She also mentioned the public private partnerships that have been established at airports and cruise ports, “so that we can offer better public services at a lower cost to consumers while benefiting from the versatility of the public sector.”
Puerto Rico is offering tax incentives through Act 74, which provides exemptions on both real estate and personal property as well as tax credits ranging from 30% to 40%.
“Puerto Rico is set to receive more than $90 billion in federal aid over the next 10 years. We’re committed to using the funds as a tool for economic development, and the fact that 96 percent of the Island qualifies as a federal Qualified Opportunity Zone means opportunities for investment are endless,” Portela said.