Puerto Rico Assures Tourists of a Warm Welcome
In an effort to ensure that tourism remains an important source of revenue, Puerto Rico is focusing on attracting visitors through the development and diversification of tourism offerings. Terestella Gonzalez Denton, the director of the CTPR tourism agency, is confident that through their intensive marketing and advertising campaigns the benefits of visiting the island are being made known in the international tourism market.
The income derived from tourism in Puerto Rico during 2006 and 2007 totaled $3.2 billion per year. These figures indicated a marked decrease from the $3.7 billion generated in 2005. This decrease can be seen as a reflection of the economic downturn being experienced in many countries worldwide. Nonetheless, agencies are optimistic that by the end of 2008, tourism earnings will rise to a minimum of $3.4 billion.
Tourism agencies in Puerto Rico believe that they have an advantage over other popular, and possibly cheaper, destinations such as the nearby Dominican Republic, in that Puerto Rico offers a diversified product for different markets, including business, conventions and leisure tourism. Puerto Rico has a sound infrastructure and a superb selection of hotels and accommodation to suit all budgets. In addition to enjoying the natural beauty of the island, tourism in Puerto Rico also encourages visitors to get to know the people that call this piece of paradise home. Eco-tourism packages explore some of the most beautiful spots in Puerto Rico and visitors never fail to be enriched by the experience of enjoying nature at its best. Eco-tourism also ensures that a positive impact is made on the general economy of Puerto Rico, with rural communities benefiting financially.
The current campaign to promote tourism highlights the Porta del Sol region as well as the towns in the west of Puerto Rico, including Rincon, Mayaguez, Guanica, Aguadilla, Lajas and Hormigueros. With its 2,335 hotel rooms and plans to build more than 2,000 more by 2010, this region is ready to warmly welcome tourists. The 2010 Central American Games will be held in Mayaguez, and in preparation for this exciting event, an amount of $430 million has been earmarked for the improvement of the region’s highway network, with an additional $734 million being spent on upgrading water supply and sewage systems as well as the development of the sports infrastructure.
In support of the tourist industry, the government of San Juan has approved the increase of incentives paid to cruise lines which meet specific requirements and quotas agreed on by the various parties. These incentives include rebates on purchases made by the ship’s passengers with added incentive payments if the goods purchased were manufactured locally. Currently approximately 1.38 million cruise ship passengers visit Puerto Rico and the authorities are hoping to increase this number by 20 percent by the year 2011.
Certainly, there are many ongoing projects to ensure that tourists traveling to the fascinating country of Puerto Rico will enjoy every moment of their visit.