The Puerto Rico Small Inn Owners and Tourism Association confirmed Wedneday that island “paradores,” as the small properties are known, were at 100 percent occupancy over New Year’s Eve weekend.
Furthermore, the paradores expect to be at between 75 percent and 85 percent capacity through the Three Kings Day weekend, said trade group President Jesús Ramos, who owns and operates the Villas de Sotomayor parador in Adjuntas.
Properties along Puerto Rico’s coasts, near the beach, as well as in the mountains, were filled to the max, he said.
“This weekend we had four elements that caused a higher occupancy than the previous year: the New Year’s Eve celebration fell on a Sunday, creating a four-day weekend; there were several events in towns near paradores; there is a substantial number of Puerto Rican diaspora visiting their relatives on the island; and, there is a renewed interest in our people to distract themselves locally with their families,” said Xavier A. Ramirez, co-owner and general manager of Combate Beach Resort in Cabo Rojo.
“Much of this weekend’s success is focus we’re placing on the paradores to continuously improve the quality of our tourism offer, and to the work and coordination that towns have been doing to ensure secure access, and continue restoring the areas that generate economic activity,” said Angel Rodríguez, co-owner and operator of Parador Boquemar in Cabo Rojo.
“Looking ahead, we’re busy looking to raise demand for Puerto Rico as a destination. The first half of 2018 will be more complex for all entrepreneurs that make up the tourism industry, and especially for all small properties far from the metropolitan area,” said Ramos.
The executive added that the groups and conventions segment has been affected in the wake of Hurricane María’s strike to Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, and for now the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. has focused the little investment it is making in marketing and promoting on activities and spots in the San Juan metropolitan area, “abandoning the rest of the island,” Ramos said.
“This practice is detrimental to everyone because, on average, the tourist on vacation chooses their travel destination with at least 45 to 90 days in advance, and the information they have determines the length of their stay,” Ramos said.
The paradores that make up the Puerto Rico Small Inn Owners and Tourism Association are: El Buen Café in Hatillo; Boquemar in the town of Boquerón; Combate Beach Resort in Cabo Rojo; and Villas Sotomayor in Adjuntas.