The Foundation for Puerto Rico and the Universidad del Este’s José A. (Tony) Santana International School of Hospitality signed an agreement Thursday to conduct a study that will help promote and develop Puerto Rico’s so-called visitor’s economy.
Through the agreement between the two institutions, 16 students will conduct a series of interviews based on the “Design Thinking and Human Centric Approach Interview Process” research model to learn about the local tourism ecosystem, discuss common challenges perceived by some industry suppliers, and identify opportunities to address them, said the Puerto Rico Foundation’s Director of Partnerships, María Jaunarena.
“The Foundation for Puerto Rico aims to transform Puerto Rico into a destination for the world, promoting sustainable strategies for economic and social development,” she said.
“This collaborative agreement with the University facilitates the quick collection, analysis and dissemination of data on our local ecosystem of service providers, to learn about the great opportunities that exist, plan ahead and help turn the visitor economy into a national priority,” Jaunarena said.
Puerto Rico’s visitor economy injects about $7 billion into the island’s coffers, a number that the Foundation for Puerto Rico is looking to double.
Once the investigation is complete the Foundation will seek out projects that contribute to the sustainable development of the island’s visitor economy, Jaunarena said.
The nonprofit is entering into partnerships to understand the interests, motivations and expectations of visitors coming to Puerto Rico.
“It is essential to understand our visitor economy in its current condition to be more successful in conceptualizing and implementing strategies that will achieve their potential,” said Jaunarena.
The 16 participating students will conduct their interviews as part of the Hospitality course. The Universidad del Este will support, guide and direct the process of research, analysis and presentation of results arising from this collaboration with Foundation for Puerto Rico, said Terestella González-Denton, dean of the José A. (Tony) Santana International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts
“These types of partnerships and collaborations allow our students to acquire knowledge and develop tools that are critical to their development as future tourism professionals. Foundation for Puerto Rico offers the ideal platform to contribute and take part in the development of this important study for Puerto Rico,” González-Denton said.
The study will be based on the “Design Thinking and Human Centric Approach Interview Process” research model that is promoted globally and implemented locally by Puerto Rican company Seriously Creative. The methodology was developed in the 70s at Stanford University in California to generate innovative ideas that focus on understanding and solving the real needs of users.
“The best way to provide a service, product or memorable experience to a person is knowing and understanding them,” said Seriously Creative’s Dana Montenegro about the methodology.
“This means going beyond demographics and percentages, and delving into the needs and motivations of people. This model allows us this reflecting the people, their needs and motivations in the data,” she said.