SAN JUAN — At the 15th edition of the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, now underway, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) announced rapid-pace recovery efforts and a positive outlook for 2018.
“We have made great strides because we’ve implemented a comprehensive strategy which has in turn secured a promising comeback for the island,” said Carla Campos, Acting Executive Director of the PRTC. “With over $1.9 billion of hospitality development in the pipeline and an existing lodging inventory undergoing exciting renovations, Puerto Rico’s revamping is underway.”
Major milestones important for leisure and business travelers include:
- Cruises: Not only did Puerto Rico resume operations just two and a half weeks after Hurricane Maria, but by the end of June 2018 Puerto Rico will have received 1.04 million passengers. This winter season, 14 vessels – four more than the previous season – are homeporting in San Juan, including Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, Windstar Pride, Silversea’s Silver Wind and Viking Sea. The 2018/2019 cruising season is set to witness a record-breaking 1.7 million passengers, which is expected to generate roughly $250 million in revenue for the economy.
- Air Access: Two weeks after Hurricane Maria, the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport had 20 daily flights. Today there are on average 110 daily flights. Capacity is on the rise with a current monthly seat volume of 391,000. By July 2018, seat capacity will increase by 81,000 more. By early summer 2018 air access will be on par with levels this time last year, and Puerto Rico is growing at a faster pace than comparable destinations that have gone through similar situations. Growth is driven by newly established routes and existing frequency, in addition to larger aircrafts that will result in higher seat capacity, says Campos.
- Hotels: Currently there are over 122 hotels operating, for a total of 12,458 available rooms. Some 2,670 more rooms will be added to that inventory after undergoing renovations (eg. the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve and El San Juan Hotel). Looking ahead, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company estimates 25% more rooms in the pipeline for development, which equates to 3,800 new rooms. Some of the hotels in the pipeline are the JW Marriott, Aloft San Juan Convention Center, Aloft Ponce, Serafina Hotel, Four Seasons Cayo Largo, among others. Approximately $1.9 billion will be injected into new developments and renovations, which contributes to adding roughly 3,831 new jobs.
- Destination Attractions: A month after Hurricane Maria, the PRTC announced that 22 attractions were open, however, today there are more than 120. Some 13 golf courses and 15 casinos are also open, plus more than 4,000 restaurants. “We are seeing continued commitment from partners who are choosing to keep their big-ticket events in Puerto Rico, like the DIVAS Half Marathon and 5K, PGA, Ironman, and MLB Series, all events happening in Q1 and Q2 of this year alone,” says Campos.
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace is taking place Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan.