P.R. tourism ‘making great strides’ as summer travel season approaches
The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. on Monday offered a rundown of milestones reached in the months after Hurricane María, confirming the island’s readiness to host visitors as the summer travel season approaches.
Carla Campos, acting executive director of the Tourism Co. said Puerto Rico is also ready to receive participants in the upcoming U.S. Travel Association’s IPW 2018 event, “the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S.”
“We continue to make great strides because we implemented a comprehensive strategy that has secured a speedy comeback for the island,” Campos said.
“As a result, we can announce that an incredible amount of cruise passengers are expected in May and June, air capacity figures will equal those from 2016 by the Fall, and occupancy remains strong as renovated hotels continue opening their doors,” she said. “We’re continuing to receive thousands of visitors and at this pace, our summer months look very promising.”
The agency went on to list a number of “major milestones” achieved so far, which are important for leisure and business travelers:
- Cruises: Last week, the island received 17,000 cruise passengers in one day. With an expected arrival of 100,000 passengers in May and 131,000 in June, Puerto Rico is headed toward “an incredibly strong Summer.” The cruise industry has seen growth this year with 14 vessels homeporting — four more than last season — including Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, the Windstar Pride, Silverseas Silver Wind and Viking Sea. The 2018/2019 cruise season is expected to witness a record-breaking 1.7 million passengers, which is expected to generate roughly $250 million in revenue for the island.
- Air Access: By the Fall, seat capacity for air access is expected to be back on par with levels from this time last year, when tourism was at its peak. “At this rate, Puerto Rico has recovered at a faster pace than destinations that have gone through similar situations. Growth is driven by newly established routes and frequency, in addition to larger aircraft resulting in higher seat capacity,” Campos said.
- Hotels: Currently, there are more than 130 hotels operating, with more than 11,500 rooms available. Between 3,500 and 4,000 more rooms will be added to that inventory when renovations are completed. The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, El San Juan Hotel and the St. Regis Bahía Beach will be opening their doors in October. Looking ahead, the Tourism Co. confirmed that 28 new properties, totaling 1,300 additional rooms are under construction at the moment. Some of the new hotels in the pipeline are the ALOFT San Juan Convention Center, ALOFT Ponce and Four Seasons Cayo Largo Resort, among others.
- Destination Attractions: There are more than 184 attractions open on the island. Additionally, 13 golf courses and 16 casinos are open for recreation. Puerto Rico has more than 4,000 operating restaurants islandwide.
Campos said Puerto Rico was ready to receive travelers by Dec. 20, 2017, two months after Hurricane María made landfall.