Puerto Rico’s Association of Small Inn Owners expressed their support to the proposed amendments to Law Number 17 of 2017, that would grant more funding to Destination Marketing Organization Discover Puerto Rico.
“In just 16 months, our DMO has proven to be very efficient and productive for Puerto Rico. By strengthening our position and image in the touristic market, the number of visitors who are arriving and the revenues in the Tourism Company have increased. At this juncture, the DMO represents the best investment in our future,” said Jesús Ramos, president of the Association.
“For the association, the new bill seeks four amendments to ensure that the DMO can be more effective and develop properly, for the benefit of all Puerto Rican residents,” said Ramos, owner and operator of the Parador Villas Sotomayor in Adjuntas.
The amendments seek to add $5 million to the DMO’s annual $25 million budget.
“Tourism is the main tool for economic development that we have in the short- and medium- term; and we are convinced that these amendments will serve to distribute tourists throughout the island and create the new jobs that we need so much,” he said.
Xavier A. Ramírez, head of the Association’s marketing committee, said since the DMO’s inception the trade group said it take at least $45 million annually for the entity to be successful.
“And we know that every dollar invested in the promotion of the destination can inject a return of investment between $27 and $48 directly to our economy, and up to $5 in taxes. Currently, Puerto Rico invests one third of the marketing funds that were invested in 2015; and about 50% of what other smaller destinations in the Caribbean invest,” said Ramírez, who is also general manager at Combate Beach Resort in Cabo Rojo.
He said the numbers the DMO has produced in the two years after Hurricane María struck Puerto Rico show “many achievements in a short time.”
Ramírez said Puerto Rico has reached visitor levels that for other destinations have taken up to nine years after a catastrophe, and an incremental investment of up to $100 million. Furthermore, he noted the fact that passenger arrivals have already reaches pre-María levels.
But he said the the limitation of DMO funds directly affects the island’s tourism regions and smaller hotels.