Puerto Rico Gets Caribbean Week Started Early

NEW YORK -- Puerto Rico Tourism Company representatives got a jump start on Caribbean Week Thursday as it hosted a lunch for media where the objective was to further emphasize the island's ongoing mission to build. "We know that if you build it, they will come," says Terestella Gonzalez-Denton, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, "and we are definitely building." She was referring to the more than 4,202 new hotel rooms that are under construction, totaling $799 million in new investments. Some of the brands involved are St. Regis Resorts, W Resorts, Sheraton, InterContinental, Marriott and Fairmont. Caribbean Week is slated to kickoff on Monday. Although Puerto Rico is part of the Caribbean, Gonzalez-Denton says its affiliation with the United States usually confuses people a bit. Gonzalez- Denton told media that the island's priorities include ongoing growth in hotel rooms and meeting space and a desire to become more involved with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). By June 30, 2008 more than 5,359 new hotel rooms are under construction, totaling nearly $1.3 billion on in new investment and generate 3,774 new jobs. More than 5 million people visit Puerto Rico annually, generating an economic impact of $3 billion, Gonzalez-Denton says. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts Puerto Rico's travel demands will continue to grow at a pace of 3.2 percent over the next decade, she reports. Visit [www.gotopuertorico.com].