SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—Since Hurricane Maria, the investment in new hotel development in Puerto Rico equates to a total of $1.9 billion and an additional 2,900 jobs, according to Discover Puerto Rico, a new private, not-for-profit destination marketing organization.
Puerto Rico currently offers 132 diverse lodging options. Next month, travelers will have even more choices with luxury hotels reopening after renovations and new hotels opening their doors. 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. And, 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.
In addition, Puerto Rico will add The District San Juan to its Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) options next year. The five-acre hospitality and entertainment district built in partnership between Island Hospitality Partners and the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority will become a new destination for events, conventions, and performances of all types in the Caribbean region.
To underscore the progress Puerto Rico’s tourism industry has made since Hurricane Maria, Discover Puerto Rico has launched an initiative to share real-time Island imagery and milestones in the news and on social media.
“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,” says Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “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,” Dean continues. “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–came together with the local tourism industry to replace the aerial image with the message: “Bienvenidos.”
“Being on the Island and completely disconnected, we didn’t realize how far our picture traveled. We’re thankful it did. But now, we’re ready to turn the page,” says Janet Gonzalez, a resident of Humacao. “We’ve been wanting to clean up that message for a while as we’re past it. We were asked what message we’d want to share with the world and hope our new positive message spreads just as fast.”