Discover Puerto Rico is responsible for all off-island promotion of leisure travel, meetings, conventions, and events through an integrated strategy. Through synergistic efforts and an aligned vision for the destination, we intend to accelerate our visitor economy as a key driver to the island’s economic growth. Our organization is designed to incorporate global best practices, institutional independence, and continuity of management. In consultation with key industry stakeholders, we also work with the highest ethical values, transparency, accountability, and a bias towards action and agility.
What is your destination most known for?
When people think about Puerto Rico, our beautiful beaches automatically come to mind, due to the Island’s prime location in the Caribbean. However, Puerto Rico is known for much more like the hospitable and welcoming nature of our people, our rich, vibrant, history and culture, delicious cuisine, and unparalleled natural offerings. Puerto Rico is home to three of the world’s five bioluminescent bays, pink salt flats, numerous caves and waterfalls, and the only rainforest in the U.S. Forest Service.
Additionally, Puerto Rico offers the appeal of an international destination, while still providing all the benefits of a U.S. territory, including ease of travel with no passport or currency exchange requirement for U.S. citizens or green cardholders.
During this time, how can we enjoy your destination?
As the Island responsibly reopens for in-bound tourism on July 15th, travelers will notice a series of new guidelines in place that prioritize their health and safety as this remains our top priority. Thorough cleanliness measures are implemented across the tourism businesses, which follow the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) Health and Safety guidelines, paired with locally enforced measures, developed by Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC).
Sunbathing and other recreational activities on beaches and in some nature reserves are allowed, but we’re limiting group gatherings to only those within the same household. Spas, hotels, museums, theaters, and restaurants are open at limited capacity. Face masks remain mandatory when in public and social distancing is enforced with floor plans and capacities adjusted Island-wide.
For those planning travel in the upcoming months, there are other ways to explore the Island in the meantime. From salsa dancing to cooking demos, these virtual experiences are available on our website along with a series of guided tours using Google Earth. As travelers start planning their trips, they will also find a variety of special offers and hotel deals on our site, DiscoverPuertoRico.com.
For those looking to explore the Island’s MICE offerings from home, the Convention Center has developed 360-degree videos which show the different levels of the venue, as well as its terrace.
What hidden gem should not be missed when visiting your destination?
While much has changed within the travel and tourism industry due to the global pandemic, some things on the Island remain the same: the natural beauty of our bioluminescent bays, rainforests, beaches and reserves; a unique culture, with outstanding cuisine, dance and art; and an undeniable community of warm and welcoming people.
Some of the Island’s best hidden gems include Black Sand Beach in Vieques, pink salt flats in Cabo Rojo, Gilligan’s Island located off the coast of Guánica, and a variety of cave systems, rivers and stunning waterfalls that make for a truly surreal experience.
Additionally, the Island has a booming coffee culture, which offers a glimpse into the Island’s past. Travelers can learn more by visiting one of our numerous haciendas and coffee farms where they’ll witness the process of harvesting, roasting, and grinding world-renowned Puerto Rican coffee. A few options include: Hacienda La Mocha, Hacienda Lealtad, Hacienda Muñoz, Café Nativo, and Café Lucero, among others.
What’s one feature that can’t be missed when visiting your website?
Our DiscoverPuertoRico.com website is a one-stop shop for any information that visitors may need when visiting the Island. With over 350+ pieces of content covering all 78 municipalities, visitors can explore where to eat, stay and play, or select targeted categories like sports and outdoor activities, history/culture, arts/music, entertainment/events, and more.
Our site also serves as a great resource for Travel Advisors and planners looking to learn more about the Island’s MICE offerings and provide recommendations to their clients. In fact, travel advisors can become experts through our PRTE (Puerto Rico Travel Expert) certification program, which is open to all bona fide travel agents. The program was developed in conjunction with Travelliance Media’s “Travel Agent Academy,” to empower agents to confidently sell the destination and increase the opportunity for incremental business and increased commissions.
Lastly, in light of the current situation, the travel advisory on our website is constantly updated with the latest information for visitors, and a consumer-friendly version of the Visitor Health and Safety Guidelines was developed to help guests understand the main mandates surrounding the new COVID-19 protocols.
How did you hear about NATJA, why did you join?
NATJA has provided incredible value to the travel industry for years so we value our involvement to keep travel writers, editors, bloggers, and tourism professionals abreast on the latest developments, especially in the current climate. It’s our responsibility to share accurate and timely information to keep travelers informed and NATJA provides a great platform to do so.
Is there anything else you feel travel media should know about your destination?
As we reopen, it is paramount to set traveler expectations as the safety of our residents and visitors remains our main priority. Puerto Rico exercised an abundance of caution from the onset of COVID19, including being the first US destination to set a curfew and install thermographic cameras at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, and we are continuing to do so as we welcome back visitors.
In our role as the Island’s official destination marketing organization, we began planning for recovery on the day restrictions were first put in place. We’ve implemented a comprehensive recovery plan designed to accelerate the local economy and a speedy rebound. And, despite the temporary slowdown of travel worldwide, Puerto Rico is ready and eager to welcome visitors back.