Puerto Rico destination marketing organization begins operations
SAN JUAN – The Corporation for the Promotion of Puerto Rico as a Destination (DMO) has officially begun its work with the appointment of its board members and the creation of five internal committees.
Jon Borschow, president of the Foundation for Puerto Rico, was named chairman of the DMO’s board and Federico Stubbe Jr., president of the Prisa Group, will serve as vice chairman. Meanwhile, Alberto Escudero will serve as treasurer.
The meeting of the entity in charge of developing the marketing strategy to spur tourism on the island tokk place Tuesday at Foundation for Puerto Rico headquarters in Santurce. Its next meeting is slated for Aug. 24.
Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy and the director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., José Izquierdo, said the DMO reflects the government’s philosophy of “transferring more responsibilities” to the private sector to improve Puerto Rico’s economic development.
Laboy said that the DMO’s constitutive meeting shows the “commitment of an enabling government and the private sector as protagonist of the economic recovery of Puerto Rico.”
Izquierdo, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of continuing to have the Tourism Co. as the entity in charge of making sure that marketing efforts aimed at international travelers reflect what Puerto Rico has to offer. He also said the quick development of the DMO is an important step for the development of Puerto Rico’s economy.
The DMO’s chairman echoed their statements and reiterated the importance the visitor economy has on the broader matter that is Puerto Rico’s economy.
“[The DMO] represents what we at the foundation are convinced is perhaps the greatest opportunity to change our island in economic terms with the concept of the visitor economy,” said Borschow, who on previous occasions has said the importance of investing in the visitor economy is it is an area that has a faster recovery potential, which would help other sectors emerge from the economic crisis.
For his part, the vice chairman stressed upon the need to “deliver and move quickly.”
Because the Tourism Co. and Meet Puerto Rico, two entities represented in the DMO, have already established marketing strategies, Borschow believes there is no need to start from scratch, but rather “transform” existing measures. He added that in the coming months the DMO will begin defining its plan, which should be completed and ready by the end of the fiscal year.
Among other issues discussed at the meeting, the working committees and their respective members were established. The Development and Organizational Effectiveness Committee will be responsible for shaping the initial organizational structure of the corporation. This includes recruiting executive staff and other key officials. This committee will comprise Laboy Rivera; Tomás Ramírez, representative of the Paradores Owners Association; Milton Segarra, president of Meet Puerto Rico; Joanne Ferguson, president of Destination Puerto Rico; and Agustín Arellano, president and CEO of Aerostar Airport Holdings.
The Marketing Committee, meanwhile, will facilitate the DMO’s work and representation in technical marketing areas. They will work in transition with the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., Meet Puerto Rico, and the Convention Center District Authority for the rest of the fiscal year to ensure alignment of the current marketing strategy with the DMO’s vision for the future. The committee is composed by Milton Segarra; Miguel Vega, of the PRHTA; Omar Marrero, Miguel Vega, chairman of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association; Omar Marrero, executive director of the Convention Center District Authority; José Izquierdo; and Dermont Connolly, director of El Conquistador resort.