Friday, August 14, 2020

Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association: Ready for a staggered opening

By on May 21, 2020

SAN JUAN – Clarisa Jiménez, president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA), said Thursday that the group’s members are ready to implement the precautionary measures necessary to reopen the industry.

“Since we are aware that there will be a staggered reopening by the Government for economic activities, we understand that we are ready to contribute to making it a safe, and reinforcing all meritorious aspects to ensure the safety and health of our employees, visitors and the local consumer,” Jiménez said in a statement. “Tourism in Puerto Rico is an activity that generates billions to the economy, so it is necessary to start to boost it by phases always reinforcing the necessary security measures to ensure the health of all in face of the pandemic.” 

The official said the PRHTA created a compilation of best prevention and cleanliness practices for COVID-19 from several organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), OSHA and renowned hotel brands, among others. In addition, the PRHTA said it also counts on the manual created by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) to address the outbreak.

“We urge the Government to present the plan to reopen the sector, so we can start moving the economy. It is important to note that according to Discover Puerto Rico, tourism activity in 2017 represented  a contribution of almost about $7.8 billion to our economy, which means 6-7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and creates about 80,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs,” Jiménez said. “We took a step forward promptly when curfew and lockdown were implemented and as a pandemic prevention. Now it is time to do so again by creating those staggered opening guides to start moving the tourist activity.

The press release adds that several hotels never closed and continue to “operate with occupancy rates ranging from 4 to 6 percent, forcing them to have a reduced workforce. On the other hand, vital members of the Island’s economic activity in tourism, such as casinos, beaches, marinas and golf courses, among many other tourist operations, have completely closed to comply with the respective executive orders enacted. All these tourist companies have prepared in these past two months to operate with our new reality complying with the established protocols.”

Puerto Rico, the Jiménez said, remains the Caribbean destination “with the highest seating capacity on flights and we must capitalize on this. We must join the various Caribbean destinations that are already seeing a reopening next month such as: St. Lucia, Bahamas and Aruba, among others.  We are also in time to rescue the summer season for internal tourism that is so important to the market, always being emphatic about the necessary measures and following the protocols established for the safety of all.”

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