San Juan, Puerto Rico hosted ASTA's joint meeting of its Board of Directors and Chapter Presidents Council and gave ASTA’s leaders the opportunity to see for themselves Puerto Rico's new marketing campaign— Explore Beyond the Shore— in action. The Board was also briefed on the importance of tourism to Puerto Rico.
"Puerto Rico has proven to be an ideal setting in which to bring together the leaders of the world's largest travel trade association, and would like to thank Mickey Espada, deputy executive director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, for his role in making this all possible," said ASTA president and CEO Chris Russo. "Not only do we have a wonderful destination in which to meet, but we as travel professionals have the chance to discover new features and offerings at a destination with which many of us are already familiar. As travel agents, it is so important that we stay ahead of the curve when it comes to what's going on at a destination. Consumers look to us for inside advice, and onsite meetings such as this give us necessary information we can take back and share with our clients who may be considering Puerto Rico as a vacation or meeting destination."
In her presentation, Terestella González Denton, executive director of Puerto Rico Tourism Company, reviewed the island's new strategic marketing and development initiatives to further develop its tourism sector. She pointed out that, during the past three years, Puerto Rico's tourism industry had "come a long way in building a strong foundation so that not only our island, but the Caribbean region, may continue advancing at a solid pace and flourishing as a premier world-class destination."
Noting that the island's tourism sector was the only economic sector to experience constant growth, even in these challenging global economic times, she said, "the phenomenon has transformed Puerto Rico's tourism industry from a peripheral sector to a powerful engine for economic development."
González Denton thanked ASTA's Board and chapter presidents for their support and invited them to "discover the wonderful Puerto Rico experience and enjoy the wide-ranging offer of activities that have turn[ed] us into the one-stop premier destination in the Caribbean" for both leisure and business travelers
Puerto Rico, with its new convention center, has expressed interest in hosting a future ASTA International Destination Expo, possibly as soon as 2011. As such, ASTA will conduct a site inspection of the new facility while in San Juan.