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PRHTA Files Motion to Stop Political Influence in Tourism Marketing

By on February 17, 2016

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) filed a legal motion before the San Juan Court on Tuesday to stop the State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish acronym) from intervening in the island’s destination marketing campaign, Miguel Vega, president of the PRHTA board, said Wednesday.

The PRHTA filed a Motion for Intervention and Provisional Remedy after the electoral commissioner of the New Progressive Party (NPP) requested a review of the current marketing campaign dubbed “Puerto Rico, the All Star Island,” which is run by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC).

“Once again we find ourselves needing to defend the tourism industry,” Vega said. “For years, we have indicated the need to separate the marketing and promotional efforts of the island as a tourism destination from party politics. Today’s events validate our position and reaffirm the need to establish a private and independent professional marketing entity for the destination.”

“We cannot allow the industry to be held captive to interpretations that seek to determine if the promotional and marketing efforts contain political elements,” the PRHTA chairman added. “Today, we are asking the court to determine that the CEE is not empowered to evaluate if the marketing and promotional campaigns of Puerto Rico as a destination, internally or externally, comply with the provisions on broadcast controls and public expenses contained in the electoral law.”

Vega noted that the law pertaining to public broadcasting expenses prohibits the local government from incurring in expenses for buying advertising space, except when it comes to promotional efforts by the PRTC or the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority to market the island as a tourism destination.

“It is imperative that this controversy be resolved as soon as possible. We are in the middle of the high season and cannot allow our presence in the markets to fade because of political party discussions,” the hotelier noted. “If the court still believes that the CEE can judge promotional and marketing campaigns undertaken by the PRTC, we urge the parties to determine immediately which ads comply and do not comply. We need to be present in the tourism markets and cannot allow that one of the few industries that creates opportunities even within the current crisis be held captive to these discussions. Our industry and the country deserve more from our leaders.”

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