Tourism/Transportation

Tourism Co. in pursuit of European traveler market

Tourism Co. Executive Director Mario González Lafuente.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is looking to establish “a solid exchange” with the European travel market, in a bid to boost travel to the island as well as hotel registrations, which as of June 2011 had showed a 4.4 percent increase, agency Executive Director Mario González Lafuente said Tuesday.

As part of its plan, the agency has struck alliances with several European airlines, including Germany’s Condor Airlines, which will begin serving the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport next month, as well as the return of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic earlier this year. Those airlines in turn have associated with local hotels to create vacation packages, he said.

In conjunction with those airlines, as well as Spanish carrier Iberia, the agency has created strategies that include: securing the cover of the December issue Condo Airlines’ in-flight magazine; online banners; putting together pre and post holiday Virgin Holiday Cruises and Jet Blue packages; and other collaborative marketing efforts, he said.

“We know this is the time to develop a robust exchange with the European tourism market and achieve our goal of attracting more visitors to Puerto Rico as an ideal destination in the Caribbean,” he said. “We’re sharing with our industry partners excellent information that will give them the tools to combine efforts to increase European tourism in Puerto Rico.”

Furthermore, the Tourism Co. has established initiatives to promote the destination through sales contests, familiarization trips and participation in tourism industry fairs and conventions, among other efforts.

“With these and other initiatives we know we will exceed the increase reflected in the latest statistics related to hotel registrations, which until June showed a 4.4 percent increase in European visitors that stayed in Puerto Rico hotels, resulting in 1,063 additional registrations versus 2010,” González Lafuente said. “The exchange of ideas and union of purpose with our industry partners in this symposium clearly shows our aggressive strategy to capture the European market.

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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