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New nonprofit leaves first footprint on Vieques

By on October 26, 2016

SAN JUAN — Vieques Vive, a newly formed nonprofit that seeks to spur the economic development of the aforementioned island-municipality off Puerto Rico’s east coast, has kicked off its first project, consisting of signsposts to be installed all over the so-called Isla Nena, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

The initiative, which carried an investment of around $40,000, was carried out with the monetary backing of Total Petroleum Puerto Rico as well as local government entities, namely the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) and the Vieques municipal government.

Carles Reig, who owns the W Vieques Retreat & Spa, created the nonprofit in an attempt to energize Vieques’ potential as a tourism brand and destination, while at the same time prevent further deterioration of the island’s communities and promote job creation, Reig told reporters at a press conference held at PRTC headquarters in Old San Juan.

He further explained that the nonprofit was created as a 501(c)(3) entity under U.S. tax code, meaning it can receive donations geared solely toward the execution of projects and not for salaries or dividends to board members.  

From left, Tourism Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Vieques Vive founder Carles Reig, Total Petroleum legal affairs Director Denise Rodríguez, Vieques Mayor Víctor Emeric and W Hotel General Manager Nathalie Urban

From left, Tourism Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Vieques Vive founder Carles Reig, Total Petroleum legal affairs Director Denise Rodríguez, Vieques Mayor Víctor Emeric and W Hotel General Manager Nathalie Urban

The signpost project actually goes a long way into making Vieques a more attractive tourism destination, Víctor Emeric, the municipality’s mayor, told Caribbean Business. “Before, tourists had to ask residents how to reach a particular beach, for example, and the explanations would only go as far as ‘when you reach that blue house, turn left and keep straight all the way.’ That left a bad impression.”

Through the initiative, 17 signposts carrying a total of 88 signs will be installed. The signposts, which resemble trees, will carry reflective text in Spanish and English, pointing the way to Vieques landmarks such as Puerto Mosquito, Isabel II and Esperanza neighborhoods, the municipality’s hospital, tourism hotspots such as an old sugar mill, a wildlife natural refuge, and the bioluminescent bay, and beaches such as Patita, La Prieta, Caracas, Punta Arenas, La Chiva, Escondida and Playa Grande, as well as the Sunbay public beach and Kiani Lagoon, among other destinations.

PRTC Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, W Hotel General Manager Nathalie Urban and Total Petroleum’s legal affairs director, Denise Rodríguez, were also on hand at the press conference.

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