Puerto Rico is on pace to complete a record-breaking year in 2019. It has welcomed four-plus million travelers and seen a 55 percent increase in tourism demand versus 2018. What’s more impressive: The island suffered briefly over the summer as a result of a series of protests.
So, what’s new? There is more inventory on the island than ever before, with total lodging inventory increasing by 3.4 percent since 2017. This equates to 156 hotel options (or 15,500 rooms open and accepting reservations). Among the top hotel news: Aloft Hotel at El Distrito will open in late January 2020, as will the InterContinental San Juan, which just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation; Sheraton Puerto Rico is planning a $10 million renovation; El San Juan Hotel was reflagged as a Fairmont Hotels & Resorts property; Condado Vanderbilt celebrated its 100th anniversary this year and La Concha celebrated its 60th, which included a $15 million renovation of its original tower; and the $50 million Zafira St. Clair Hotel in Vieques began construction in August.
El Distrito San Juan is opening next year. It will be an “experiential complex” that will include global retail, dining, art, entertainment, music, technology and hospitality. It is anticipated to be a vibrant and popular setting for events, conventions and performances of all types. There will even be a zipline and a day/night disco.
Regarding air travel, Puerto Rico is serviced by 200 daily flights from 24 airlines, with access at a 10-year high, surpassing 2015 totals. Next year is expected to top 2019, with 9.5 million passengers forecast to travel to the island.