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Puerto Rico had ‘record year’ for tourism in ’21, Discover Puerto Rico says

Puerto Rico’s tourism industry wrapped up 2021 by setting new records in lodging income, room tax collections, and passenger arrivals, while the average stay of tourists increased by 5%, according to Discover Puerto Rico.

The first big breakthrough was in accommodation revenue. In 2021, lodging in Puerto Rico surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time, and at years-end, it had increased $1.3 billion. That figure represents 37% more than the previous record set in 2019, Discover Puerto Rico said.

This bonanza in accommodation responds to an increase in demand and a consequent increase in room and short-term rentals rates. This had a cascade effect growing the room tax collections. In 2021 about $98 million was collected from this tax, the highest figure in the history of Puerto Rico. This collection level is 48% higher than the average revenue of the previous ten years of $66 million.

The number of passengers arriving in Puerto Rico was also at the highest levels in the past decade. Figures provided by Aerostar Airport Holdings show that in 2021 4.84 million passengers arrived at Luis Muñoz Marín airport. It was 2.6% higher than 2019, the year with the most passengers in the past decade, and more of those passengers were visitors, Discover Puerto Rico noted.

Through September, 62.3% of the arrivals were visitors rather than residents, up from 59% in 2019, Discover Puerto Rico said, citing an Airline Data Inc. report.

The duration of the stays of the visitors also experienced significant progress. The firm Arrivalist estimated that in 2021 visitors stayed in Puerto Rico, on average, 4.6 days. This is 5% more than what was experienced in 2019. 

The firm Adara, which analyzes the trends of consumers exposed to advertising, estimated that visitors exposed to Discover Puerto Rico’s marketing stay longer on the island, about 6.3 days on average, the island’s destination marketing organization stated.

This level of industry performance allowed that by December 2021, about 80,000 people were employed in the economy’s leisure and hospitality sectors. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics data, this figure is among the highest for a month in the last decade, and it’s only 500 jobs off pre-COVID-19 levels. It is 29,600 more than those working in these sectors in April 2020, when the pandemic brought much of the economy to a halt.

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

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