The Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association confirmed that tourism and organization members are “ready for the staggered opening proposed by the government, and are ready to implement the necessary precautionary measures,” the group’s President Clarisa Jiménez said.
“Since we’re aware that there will be a staggered reopening by the government for economic activities, we believe we’re ready to contribute to ensuring the safety and health of our employees, visitors and the local consumer,” Jiménez said in written statements.
“Tourism in Puerto Rico is an activity that generates billions to the economy, so it’s necessary to start to boost it by phases always reinforcing the necessary security measures to ensure everyone’s health in face of the pandemic,” she said.
The PRHTA has put together information of the best COVID-19 prevention and cleanliness practices from several organizations worldwide, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and renowned global hotel brands, among others, she said.
In addition, a manual created by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company for the circumstance will support business managers to begin reopening the sector.
“We urge the government to present the plan to reopen the sector, so we can start moving the economy,” Jiménez said. “It’s important to note that according to Discover Puerto Rico, tourism activity in 2017 represented a contribution of nearly $7.8 billion to our economy, which means 6% to 7% of the gross domestic product and creates about 80,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.”
“We took a step forward quickly when the curfew and shut down were implemented to prevent a pandemic. Now it’s time to do so again by creating those staggered opening guides to start moving the tourist activity,” she said.
The trade group confirmed several hotels never closed their doors and currently operate with occupancy rates ranging from 4% to 6%, forcing them to have a reduced workforce.
On the other hand, members of the island’s economic activity in tourism, such as casinos, beaches, marinas and golf courses, among other tourist operations, have completely closed to comply with the executive orders enacted.
“All these tourism companies have prepared in these past two months to operate with our new reality complying with the established protocols,” she said.
“Puerto Rico continues to be the destination in the Caribbean with the highest seating capacity on flights and we must capitalize on this,” Jiménez said.
“We must join the various Caribbean destinations that are already seeing a reopening next month such as: St. Lucia, Bahamas and Aruba, among others. We also have time to rescue the summer season for internal tourism that’s so important to the market, always being emphatic about the necessary measures and following the protocols established for everybody’s safety of all,” she said.
“Our hotel partners, casinos and other members of the tourism sector comply with the strictest cleaning and hygiene rules, and these protocols have been further elevated by recent events,” Jiménez said.