Hoteliers arrive at Puerto Rico Capitol to ask for help
SAN JUAN – The chairman of the Puerto Rico House Tourism & Social Well-being Committee, Néstor Alonso, held a meeting Monday with dozens of island hotel, hostel and guest house owners to draft a marketing campaign and establish the parameters for government assistance.
“We decided to do this roundtable with the owners of the small hotels throughout Puerto Rico because we need to know what is really happening in the industry and how we, from the House of Representatives, can assist them in the recovery work after the lashing of Hurricane María in September. It was a very productive meeting, where we talked about everything. The hoteliers emphasized the urgent need to establish a more aggressive promotion and marketing campaign abroad, and that is something we will be on top of, for it to be done in the coming days,” the legislator said in a written statement.
During the roundtable, owners and managers from a dozen lodgings stressed the need to find tourists by March, when it is believed a significant number of federal employees assigned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be leaving the rooms they have been using for months.
“This is a very important issue, which is why we need to implement this promotion campaign [stateside] and in other destinations. We have to attract new visitors to our shores. They urge us to change the image of Puerto Rico from a devastated island without electricity, to an island that is lifting itself up, which has much to offer tourists, from beautiful beaches, to majestic mountains. That message has to be transmitted. We are convinced our government will be moving toward achieving that purpose,” Alonso added.
Among participants at the meeting convened by the New Progressive Party representative were the owners of the Boquemar, Yunque Mar and Villas de Sotomayor paradores. In addition, the owners of La Jamaca Hotel & Restaurant, Coral By the Sea Hotel, Sandy Beach Hotel, San Sebastián B&B, Casablanca Villa, Sofo Hotel, Combate Beach Resort, Dos Aguas Bed & Breakfast, Casa Sol Bed & Breakfast and others.
The interim director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., Carla Campos, as well as some of the government corporation’s support staff, attended the meeting.
Alonso stressed the importance of the Tourism Co. proactively assisting the island’s hotels in the search for alternatives to improve operations during these post-hurricane Maria months.
“We will be working closely with the Tourism Co. to ensure these hostels, which have struggled so hard to keep operating, continue their work. It is these hotels that now represent the backbone of the tourism industry in Puerto Rico,” he said.