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García Padilla Touts P.R.’s Tourism as Aviation Industry’s Routes Americas Kicks Off

By on February 17, 2016

SAN JUAN – During the kickoff of the ninth edition of Routes Americas, an air-service-development forum being held until Friday at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, Gov. Alejandro García Padilla noted some of the positive developments in the island’s tourism, as the government continues to work to develop the industry not only in Puerto Rico, but also in the Caribbean region.

Routes Americas brings together airlines, airports and tourism authorities to discuss air services to, from and within the Americas region. Eighty-five airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Air Canada, JetBlue, British Airways and Iberia have registered along with 225 airports and 40 tourism authorities.

“In Puerto Rico, we fully identify with one of the organization’s main objectives: to join efforts for the common good,” García Padilla said Wednesday, noting the great opportunity that it is to unite different sectors of the tourism industry to increase traffic across the region.  

The three-day event is being hosted by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. with the support of the managing company of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Aerostar Airport Holdings LLC, and the island’s destination marketing organization, Meet Puerto Rico.

Hosting the important industry event provides government officials with the opportunity to develop new air routes and continue to position the island as the Caribbean’s largest hub. It also allows Puerto Rico to showcase its much-touted maintenance, repair & overhaul (MRO) services, such as Lufthansa Technik’s MRO operation in Aguadilla.

The governor noted how Puerto Rico’s tourism industry has been improving during his administration, with 8.8 million passengers visiting last year. He added how hotel occupancy rates have improved, along with air access, particularly to Europe, with Iberia reinstating a service to Madrid in May and Norwegian Airlines already servicing new routes from San Juan to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and London Gatwick.

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla addresses Routes Americas attendees at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla addresses Routes Americas attendees at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

The governor stressed how Puerto Rico is one of the most competitive markets in the region, noting the significant investment on the island in such specialized industries as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, electronics and information technology, among others.

“All these companies have realized that Puerto Rico is much more than tax incentives and good conditions for business development. All of them know that those who invest capital and create jobs on the island have in our government a partner willing to work with them hand in hand, for the success of the company and for the good of Puerto Rico. It’s a question of joining efforts,” García Padilla said.

Meanwhile, in addition to providing a meeting forum for route development professionals, the event’s ‘Strategy Summit’ conference will feature such speakers as Joe Mohan, CEO of Viva Airlines Group; David Clark, vice president of Network Planning at JetBlue; Amy Martin, director of Latin American Network Planning at Delta Air Lines; and Terry Thornton, senior vice president Itinerary Planning at Carnival Cruise Lines.

According to the event’s organizers, this iteration of Routes has surpassed previous ones with more than 700 delegates expected — an 8% increase over Routes Americas 2015, which was held in Denver. The events include pre-scheduled meetings as well as an exhibition and conference delivered in partnership with host stakeholders. The bidding process is held two to three years before the event takes place.

Five ‘regional’ route development forums are held between February and July in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa/Middle East and Silk Road/Russian Commonwealth, and the flagship World Routes event takes place in September.

Online: http://www.routesonline.com

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