According to the U.S. Travel Association, Puerto Rico leads the country as a tourist destination with a huge influx of visitors and travel spending. Reports by Tourism Economics and Aerostar data show that in September 2021 alone, over 330,000 passengers arrived at the San Juan international airport and annual visitor spending was 23 percent higher than in 2019, despite the national average having decreased by 11 percent.

At the latest Industry Update, Discover Puerto Rico released results from the tourism industry, showing improved growth. Director of Research and Analytics for Discover Puerto Rico, Alisha Valentine, revealed that they are on track to surpass $1 billion in revenues from visitor spending for the first time. Citing statistics from SMARI, a global tourism research firm, which has monitored Puerto Rico’s brand health since 2017, Valentine revealed that the past few years have seen the island move up into the top 10 percent of destinations following investments from Discover Puerto Rico to improve its image and brand it with five key attributes: colorful, authentic, beautiful, lively and vibrant.

The travel industry is also becoming a more attractive option for building careers. Recovering and growing at record rates, the sector offers promising career growth opportunities and professional development. President and CEO of Destination Analysts, Erin Francis-Cummings, reported that 68.6 percent of workers in Puerto Rico have an improved outlook on employment prospects within the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors and would consider working within them.

Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States, as of Oct. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A healthy 73 percent of Puerto Rico’s total population of 3.3 million are fully inoculated against the virus, according to CDC data. The U.S. territory also has one of the lowest COVID community transmission rates in the U.S.

Promoting Paradores

Located outside the metro area, family-owned and highlighting the gastronomic, historical and cultural diversity of the island, small inns, or paradores, align perfectly with Discover Puerto Rico’s five key attributes. On the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Puerto Rico Paradores Program, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) announced a new training program for paradores owners. In addition to the monetary support, the plan offers professional development courses for employees and owners of the endorsed businesses. The training plan is set to begin on Nov. 5, 2021 and will cover the “service steps” in various settings: in lodging rooms, at guest receptions and tableside.

Furthermore, paradores owners received incentives of up to $7,000 each to boost their amenities and guest services. The Paradores Program funds can be used to meet the individual needs of each inn, from providing employees with English and sign language classes, to supporting structural and aesthetic improvements, such as the purchase of necessary articles — towels, curtains and bed linens — to standardize rooms.

Highlighting the importance of maintaining brand health and promoting a new image, owners of the 12 paradores attended talks by Imaris Arocho, the PRTC’s officer of sales and marketing, and Lucienne Gigante, strategist and business developer. The talks covered information related to brand management and the opportunities of a new image, in accordance with the launch of the paradores program’s new logo.

The 12 inns participating in the Paradores Program are the following: el Parador Boquemar in Cabo Rojo; Parador Combate Beach in Cabo Rojo; Parador Palmas de Lucía in Yabucoa; Parador Mauna Caribe in Maunabo; Parador Guánica 1929 in Guánica; Parador El Buen Café in Hatillo; Parador El Faro in Aguadilla; Parador Villa Parguera in Lajas; Parador Villas del Mar Hau in Isabela; Parador Villas Sotomayor in Adjuntas; Parador Yunque Mar in Luquillo and Parador Turtle Bay Inn in Lajas.


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