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Puerto Rico tourism officials unveil strategies to jump-start sector

Discover Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. on Monday unveiled separate but similar promotional strategies to jump-start tourist activity, which has declined significantly over the past several months since COVID-19 arrived at the island.

While the Tourism Co.’s effort seeks to mobilize some 410,000 residents to vacation on the island during the summer months, Discover Puerto Rico is working to give local tourism-related businesses the opportunity to create their listing and upload deals and discounts on its website to generate awareness of what is available.

The Tourism Co.’s effort revolves around a promotional campaign called “Check In Por Tu Isla,” a multimedia push that will direct tourists to the Voy Turisteando website, where there are more than 35 exclusive offers for the local tourist to stay at local hotels from June to September.

The goal is to book 500,600 room nights, which translates to $63.5 million in revenue and $5.8 million in room tax collections, Tourism Co. Executive Director Carla Campos said.

During the summer months the local market represents up to 47% of the total hotel room bookings. In 2019, a total of 653,000 residents stayed in traditional properties — hotels, resorts, paradores (small inns), bed & breakfasts, guest houses, posadas and condo-hotels. These generated reservation-related revenue of $135.5 million and some $12.5 million in hotel room taxes, Campos said.

Campos assured that the hotels and tourist companies on the island, which for the most part reduced their operations to a minimum during the COVID-19-related quarantine, are now prepared and ready to receive local tourists.

As part of that goal, Discover Puerto Rico has opened a page on its website to enable accommodations, destination management companies and tour operators, as well as tourist attractions to upload their promotions.

“Our goal is to provide added value incentives for visitors to enhance their travel experience to Puerto Rico. We urge local tourism-related businesses to use compelling, descriptive language in your entry, and focus on offers that will draw visitors from outside the island,” said Discover Puerto Rico’s CEO Brad Dean.

Accommodations include hotels, “paradores,” bed & breakfasts and vacation rentals. Within the deals page, visitors may seek offers such as “get a free night after a minimum length of stay,” discount or credit during their stay, and additional value-added amenities or activities at the property. Tour operator and attraction partners may wish to submit tour discounts, enhanced experiences, free premium items, or other special offers, Discover Puerto Rico said.

“We support the work that Discover Puerto Rico is doing to stimulate demand from abroad,” Campos said.

“We recognize that the travel planning phase of these visitors who come from outside the island will last for several months and that, to be efficient in the efforts to stimulate said demand, the Governor should consider amendments to the current Executive Orders once the Economic Task Force submits its next report,” Campos said.

“For this reason, the immediate opportunity to generate economic stimulus for the sector in the coming weeks rests on domestic tourism. After the impact of COVID-19, we know that 62.2% of our residents seek strict hygiene and sanitation measures when vacationing,” she said, noting local hotels are following the guidelines set forth in the Tourism Co.’s recently launched Health & Safety Program.

“‘Check In means that you have arrived, that you are here, it means that you are well and safe Check In means to share your favorite places and that is to say present for your people and for Puerto Rico,” said Imaris Arocho, the Tourism Co.’s director of promotion and marketing.

The Discover Puerto Rico’s website contains more than 6,000 local business listings and points of interest around the island.

Meanwhile, Discover Puerto Rico noted that for a business to upload their deal or special offer, it must follow specific guidelines. If the tourism-related business does not have a listing on Discover Puerto Rico’s website, they can send an email with the following information: business name, physical address, website, business phone number and a brief description of the business. The team will create the listing and guide them through the process and update the information on their own.

“We strongly encourage businesses to create their listing on our website if they haven’t done so already,” said Dean.

“This is a free opportunity for tourism-businesses across the island to take advantage of the more than 200,000 average visits to our website each month. These consumers are highly interested in our destination and providing them with deals, discounts, packages and special offers will only further enhance the likelihood of securing their visit,” he said.

The Discover Puerto Rico’s website contains more than 6,000 local business listings and points of interest around the island. The organization promotes the 78 municipalities, with listings that include, accommodations, restaurants, attractions, tours, museum, transportation services, and other small businesses.

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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