Puerto Rico Tourism Co. takes message of progress to international fair
SAN JUAN – The Tourism Co. of Puerto Rico intends to increase the number of European tourists on the island this year, and is participating in the International Tourism Trade Fair (Fitur by its Spanish acronym) that began Wednesday in Madrid, Spain, and runs through Sunday.
The acting executive director of the public corporation tasked with developing the island’s tourism industry, Carla Campos, said in a release that the delegation’s main focus is to present the progress achieved after Hurricane Maria and strengthen trade agreements and routes between Puerto Rico and major European markets.
Fitur is one of the largest annual tourism events, which Puerto Rico has attended for several years. This year’s participation consists of an exhibition pavilion, a presentation on the island’s tourism levels, as well as meetings with executives of several airline travel agencies and tour operators.
Fair organizers said more than 130 international purchasers and some 500 exhibitors and co-exhibitors participating at the event. The purchasers come from 39 countries, such as the United Kingdom, Argentina, China, Russia, India, United States and Colombia.
“This is the ideal forum to start the tradeshow season this year. The main objective of our participation in FITUR and other events of equal importance is to change consumers’ perceptions and encourage all our business partners to be part of the resurgence of tourism in Puerto Rico,” Campos said in Wednesday’s release.
The Tourism Co. is expecting “a big rebound in the tourism sector during the first quarters of 2018” since all island airports are operational, 80% of the hotels it endorses are taking reservations, and more than 4,000 restaurants and hundreds of attractions are open.
Tourism is also counting on the European market, served from Spain by Iberia and Air Europa airlines. From March 26 to Oct. 26, Iberia will again operate a nonstop route between Madrid and San Juan, offering three weekly flights, to which two other flights will be added from June 4 to Aug. 6, or two more than during the summer of 2017.
Air Europa, meanwhile, recently confirmed it will operate the Madrid-San Juan route with two weekly frequencies (Thursday and Sunday) in the summer months to meet the high season’s increased demand. In addition, the airline will have an additional flight to San Juan–via Punta Cana, Dominican Republic–on March 24 and 31, for the Easter holidays.
Saying the Tourism Co. considers the sector key to reactivate the local economy, its acting executive director added that collaboration with the administration and its partners in the industry is what has resulted in progress for the island.
“Tourism is essential in Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts, and with the island officially ready to receive tourists, the best way travelers can contribute to these efforts is by visiting, staying in hotels or other properties, eating in restaurants and shopping in local shops,” Campos said.