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P.R. loses major tourism conference due to earthquakes

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced its decision to move its WTTC Global Summit, slated to take place April 21-23, from San Juan to Cancún, Mexico.

The local government, headed by the Destination Marketing Organization, Discover Puerto Rico, had reportedly set aside some $6 million to host the event, which will be reallocated “to more impactful, consumer-facing activations and marketing efforts that strongly promote Puerto Rico’s active ‘open for tourism’ message, drive immediate visitation throughout the entire island, and spur activity across the non-metro area,” the DMO said in a statement.

The event was expected to generate significant economic activity for Puerto Rico. Attempts to reach DMO officials were unsuccessful Tuesday, as the organization will hold a press conference today to offer further details.

“While it would have been an honor to host the WTTC Global Summit, Discover Puerto Rico, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, and the Convention District Authority are aligned on focusing these resources to reach larger consumer audiences,” the DMO further said.

“These high-impact efforts will help continue the great momentum from 2019 and ensure 2020 is another record year for Puerto Rico. Fueling tourism is critical right now to continue to support the local communities throughout the island,” he added.

“This switch to Cancun will enable us to host a Global Summit focused on the opportunities and challenges facing our sector in 2020 and beyond, which will help to grow tourism further. The 20th Global Summit will benefit and showcase not only Mexico, but the wider regions of the US, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said WTTC President Gloria Guevara.

Saying the WTTC will host another event in Puerto Rico later this year, Guevara said the organization “remains strongly committed to supporting Puerto Rico’s amazing comeback story as seen in their record-breaking year in tourism last year.”

“Although the island was ready to welcome us with open arms this April, despite the recent seismic activity in the southern region, reallocating resources to continue this great momentum is the right thing to do in order to further boost tourism. We’re looking forward to hosting an event in Puerto Rico later this year,” she said.

In the meantime, the DMO will host events, including a “mega media familiarization trip in April, which will coincide with the official opening of El Distrito, the island’s new premiere entertainment destination,” to draw tourism activity.

The organization expects to welcome 50+ journalists from the U.S. mainland and key international markets.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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