The preliminary findings of the government’s 2011 Travelers Survey released Tuesday revealed that 88.9 percent of visitors who came to Puerto Rico last year would recommend the island as a tourism destination; the majority of arrivals by air and by sea came to vacation.
The survey is a multi-agency effort to harvest information through questionnaires handed out at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina, the Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, as well as the cruise ship ports in San Juan. The Planning Board, the Tourism Company, the Public-Private Partnership Authority and the Statistics Institute use conduct the polls to establish a visitor profile, analyze their expenditures and strategize on ways to maximize the sector’s contributions to the island’s economy.
“The Travelers Survey is based on a standard methodology developed by the World Tourism Organization. It is a statistical tool needed to measure the impact of tourism in Puerto Rico,” Planning Board President Rubén Flores Marzán said.
The study’s preliminary findings show that those arriving in Puerto Rico also came to visit relatives and/or friends (27.7 percent) and do business (14.4 percent.) The largest proportion of visitors were female (50.4 percent) and the remaining 49.6 percent were male. In terms of age, nearly half, or 45.5 percent of the visitors, were between 35 and 54 years old.
For the most part, Puerto Rico welcomed visitors from the U.S. mainland (92.5 percent) who hailed from New York, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Georgia, Connecticut and California. The remainder came from a mixed bag of countries including Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Venezuela and Spain.
Tourist stayed mostly at large hotels, and nearly 55 percent of them spent their time shopping, while 35.6 percent hit restaurants, bars or pubs for entertainment.
The Planning Board will have the final draft of the Visitor’s Survey ready at the end of February, which will include data on how much island visitors spent and how long they stayed, among other facts. Furthermore, Flores-Marzán said efforts are already underway to gather data for the 2012 report.