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Puerto Rico gov: Island’s pick as No. 1 in NY Times ‘Places to Go’ rewards efforts

By on January 9, 2019

San Felipe del Morro fort in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (Courtesy)

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares was pleased Wednesday with the New York Times (NYT) having selected the island as its top recommended travel destination this year.

“Once again, we see rewarded the effort we have made to present Puerto Rico to the world as a world-class destination, to present the attractions of our beautiful Island, as well as highlighting the resilient nature of Puerto Ricans. We steadily continue on our path to a full recovery, showing a strengthened Puerto Rico that is open to doing business,” Rosselló said in a statement.

The governor highlighted the work done by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) and Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s government-funded but independent destination marketing organization, for their work to showcase the island as “a renewed alternative for tourists.”

Read the New York Times’ “Why Puerto Rico Is No. 1 on Our Places to Go List.”

The executive director of the PRTC, Carla Campos, said in the governor’s office release that “holding the first spot on the New York Times’ list of 52 destinations to visit is an indicator that the marketing and communication efforts we launched before July 1, 2018, and the efforts directed by Discover Puerto Rico have succeeded in successfully projecting Puerto Rico as a world-class destination,” adding that, “now, more than ever, our island is open to receiving visitors and to offer them a tourism experience of the highest level.”

“Tour operators say that those traveling this winter to Puerto Rico and other islands damaged by Hurricane Maria tend to be ‘repeats and loyalists’ going back to what they already love,” the Times notes.

Among the newspaper’s examples of things to see and places to go in Puerto Rico are “an art installation of colorful umbrellas hovered above pedestrians, triggering countless selfies” on Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan, which the governor’s release explained was an initiative of the Office of First Lady Beatriz Rosselló; as well as the experience of eating roasted pig in Guavate or seafood in Salinas; and even mentions “chinchorreo,” or small-bar hopping.

The Times added that the “trend in travel has skewed in recent years toward more awareness and sensitivity — eco-tourism, voluntourism, agritourism, the idea that as visitors we should not cause harm and should seek out authentic experiences that get us deep into the local culture.”

The governor also recently lauded the record numbers, of more than 600,000 passengers, set by Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla.

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