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DMO incorporated at PR State Department

Tourism Co. Executive Director José Izquierdo.

The creation of a Destination Marketing Organization for Puerto Rico is taking shape with the incorporation of the entity at the State Department, as the Corporation for the Promotion of Puerto Rico as a Destination Inc., Tourism Company officials confirmed Thursday.

Now that the nonprofit has been officially incorporated, in line with the Law for the Promotion of Puerto Rico as a Destination signed by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló earlier this year, the next steps entail establishing a board of directors and naming an executive director.

The incorporation of the entity also allows it to receive donations, establish and collect reasonable fees for its services, develop a sponsorship program that allows the corporation to obtain private funds, and formalize cooperation agreements with governmental and non-governmental organizations.

“We’re convinced that the DMO model, which encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors to increase demand for visitors to Puerto Rico, is a wise bet,” said Tourism Co. Executive Director José Izquierdo.

“This incorporation embodies the close relationship we have created with the private sector in a short time and hope to continue reaping the fruits of our joint work under the structure of the DMO,” he said.

The DMO seeks to professionalize and give consistency to Puerto Rico’s brand as a major tourist destination in the Caribbean and be recognized as a premier destination globally.

“We’re closer to converting Puerto Rico into the tourist capital of the region,” said Manuel Laboy-Rivera, secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce and executive director of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company.

“The DMO will have more and better ways to promote all the qualities, experiences, culture and entertainment that make Puerto Rico a unique destination for every traveler. We’ve taken the right step to ensure the consistency of our brand,” he said.

The DMO has been more than a decade in the making, and has received the support of tourism components in the private sector who, among other things, have argued that promoting Puerto Rico as a destination should not be subjected to political flip-flopping.

The new independent body will be responsible for preparing a strategic plan for the promotion and marketing of Puerto Rico as a destination with targets, indicators, tactics and strategies in the short, medium and long term, in addition to studying, developing and implementing a brand strategy for Puerto Rico as a tourist destination.

On Thursday, Izquierdo thanked tourism industry representatives who assisted in shaping the DMO, a model that has already been used successfully in several U.S. states.

Meet Puerto Rico President Milton Segarra during the forum.

Meet Puerto Rico President Milton Segarra agreed Thursday it is the “beginning of the transformation of the promotion and marketing model for Puerto Rico as a destination to a DMO. The key now is to select the best talent that is capable and committed to our industry and economy to the corporation’s Board of Directors.”

Meanwhile, Jon Borschow, chairman of Foundation for Puerto Rico, said “the creation of this new organization is a big step in Puerto Rico, so we hope that with genuine commitment and unity of all forces it will bear fruit in the long term.”

“Our studies have shown that the visitor economy is the short-term strategy that will allow us to grow the economy enough to overcome the crisis,” he said.

“In Puerto Rico we have the necessary assets to make this happen. We believe that this new marketing model will help us be more effective in attracting potential visitors to enjoy our beautiful island,” Borschow said.

Tomás Ramírez, representative of Puerto Rico Small Inns Association said participating in the creation and implementation of the DMO “is a big responsibility.”

“Our island is in a very fragile economic situation, and the visitor economy is the best tool, and perhaps the only real one we have in the short term, to generate economic activity and create the jobs we so badly need now,” he said.

Saying the tourism industry is highly competitive, and not exempt from ongoing changes and technological advances, its members must “arm ourselves with the best tools and strategies to compete against the rest of the world as a tourist and convention destination,” said Agustín Arellano, CEO of Aerostar Puerto Rico, operators of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

“Therefore, the DMO is an essential tool that will provide Puerto Rico stability and effectiveness of its marketing strategies in the mid- and long-term, reducing the effects of constant changes of government administrations,” he added.

Describing the creation of a DMO as a “breakthrough for tourism in Puerto Rico,” Miguel Vega, chairman of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association added, “It is a momentous step in the right direction to achieve healthy economic development for the island.”

“It’s a great start to the emergence of tourism, although we believe we have to make adjustments along the way to ensure that we have a successful, fruitful and lasting formula for the benefit of all components of the industry,” he added.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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