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Puerto Rico shows strengths as convention destination

Neil J. Mullanaphy, acting president of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau

Puerto Rico is putting on its best face this week as members of the International Congress and Convention Association gather on the island for their weeklong 51st annual convention.

On Sunday, Tourism Company Executive Director Luis Rivera-Marín invited convention-goers to gain firsthand knowledge of the “strengths and attributes that the island has as an ideal destination for conventions. That way, the can become our representatives to attract groups for future conventions.”

The convention runs through Wednesday at the Puerto Rico Convention Center and is expected to generate 3,776 hotel room nights and pump $2 million into the local economy.

ICCA is one of the most world’s prominent international meetings organizations. Members represent more than 900 organizations in 87 countries that work directly in the meetings and conventions business. Nearly 700 attendees registered to attend the Puerto Rico convention, organizers said.

This influential group comprises executives who select locations such as Puerto Rico for their association conventions. Association groups are known for their large delegations, often drawing several thousand attendees and serving as a perfect target for convention center bookings.

“The ICCA Congress brings together a delegation of international meeting planners who are not only in Puerto Rico to learn and network with industry colleagues, but who are eager to learn more about our destination as a potential convention site for their international association gatherings,” stated Neil J. Mullanaphy, acting president of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, which worked closely with the Tourism Company since 2009 to land this event.

“We’ve been working in partnership with the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority, SMG and the Tourism Company to ensure that delegates have an exceptional destination experience and depart with a strong understanding of what Puerto Rico can offer the association groups they represent,” he said.

The convention program includes a comprehensive lineup of educational discussions and presentations, special panels and off-site seminars so that “delegates [can] gain in-depth knowledge and a keen understanding of what Puerto Rico offers convention groups, how the destination has developed as a meetings and tourism powerhouse, and plans for the future,” Mullanaphy said.

Beyond the Center, attendees will have the opportunity to experience Puerto Rico’s top sights and attractions. Tours of Old San Juan, El Yunque and the Bacardi Rum Factory are available, and the Tourism Company will host the ICCA Congress’ Gala Dinner at the Convention Center, highlighting the sophistication of Puerto Rico’s event space.

Other events during the ICCA Congress include an evening ‘beach party’ at Aquasol to celebrate the island’s tropical feel and natural beauty and a welcome reception at the Conservatory of Music in Old San Juan.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 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 segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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