Discover Puerto Rico has undertaken a new initiative to underscore the progress Puerto Rico's tourism industry has made since Hurricane Maria. As the one-year mark approaches, local tourism and community members are rallying audiences everywhere, including news media, to #CoverTheProgress and share current island imagery. Tourism benefits everyone on the island, Discover Puerto Rico says, and sharing the positive milestones achieved within the tourism industry will help continue to attract travelers, helping to drive the recovery forward.
"Six months after Hurricane Maria hit, more than fifty percent of travelers said media coverage negatively impacted their view of Puerto Rico as a destination and we're hoping to change that as the one-year anniversary approaches," said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, in a written statement. "Puerto Rico declared itself open for tourism in late December, and the local tourism industry has worked very hard for the past year to come back strong. There's a lot to celebrate and we don't want the one-year anniversary to set us back. While there's still progress to be made in some areas of the island, we're asking for the vibrancy of Puerto Rico as a tourism destination to also be shared and for the milestones the local industry and communities worked hard to achieve to be celebrated. We're taking this moment to encourage all audiences to help us spotlight our tourism recovery and invite travelers to visit us as tourism is a vital contributor to the economy."
As part of this initiative, local members of Humacao – one of the island's hardest-hit communities that became well known for the S.O.S. image that went viral in the immediate aftermath of the storm – have a new message to share in hopes it also goes viral. The message reads: "Bienvenidos!"
The following are among the many tourism milestones achieved:
- Arrivals by Air and by Sea:
- Flight capacity is on the rise with monthly seat capacity surpassing the 420,000 figure. There are currently on average 110 daily flights via 28 different airlines. By Q4, the destination is expected to be on par with 2017 levels.
- Puerto Rico has set an island record for most cruise vessel arrivals with 14 – four more vessels than last year. The Island also has 119 cruise shore excursions.
- Cruise tourism in May turned out to be the best results for that month in the last 20 years, with 107,390 cruise passengers received. This was 12.9 percent higher than the 95,139 cruise passengers who visited in May last year.
- For the next cruising season, a record breaking $1.7 million passengers are expected, which equates to approximately $250 million in revenue.
- The Return of Luxury:
- Puerto Rico currently offers 132 diverse lodging options, with more opening throughout the year
- In October, 657 new rooms will be available from the Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve; El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton; and The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. In December, 480 new rooms will be available from Meliá Coco Beach. In January, an additional 652 new rooms will be available from Caribe Hilton. Additional revamping includes El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort and The Ritz-Carlton San Juan.
- The investment in new hotel development equates to $1.9 billion, which adds another 2,900 jobs locally.
- Destination Attractions to Discover:
- Puerto Rico offers over 189 tourist attractions, including: walking tours through Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal and the Bacardi Distillery; salsa tours that visit famous places to dance your heart out; caving systems like Cueva Ventana, Toro Verde Adventure Park and El Yunque rainforest.
- The islands of Culebra and Vieques are ready to welcome visitors, as well; the former is home to Flamenco Beach.
- Puerto Rico's bioluminescent bays, located in Mosquito Bay in Vieques; Laguna Grande in Fajardo; and La Parguera in Lajas are open to visitors.
- More than 1,885 restaurants across the Island, including Culebra and Vieques, are open.
- The island currently offers 13 professional golf courses, 16 casinos and plenty of nightlife options for visitors.
- What's Next in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events:
- Coming next year is District LIVE!, a five-acre hospitality and entertainment district built in partnership between Island Hospitality Partners and the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority.
Visit DiscoverPuertoRico.com for current offers and more information.