By the Caribbean Journal staff
Puerto Rico’s post-Maria tourism rebound didn’t take long.
Indeed, by the beginning of last year much of the island’s airlift had returned, while the cruise industry saw rapid growth.
Now, a year later, it’s not just a recovery, though — Puerto Rico is seeing an “unprecedented” resurgence, according to the latest numbers from Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s first-ever Destination Marketing Organization.
Lodging demand in Puerto Rico has already reached levels from the first quarter of 2017, just 14 months after the storm.
Total demand for independent rentals is up by 72 percent in the same period, while the forecast for the rest of the year is booking 24.1 percent higher than 2018 levels.
“Puerto Rico is looking more and more like a historic comeback story, and I’m proud to see the Island’s travel and tourism industry plays a starring role,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Discover Puerto Rico has proven that a destination’s marketing arm is an indispensable component of a successful turnaround.”
Puerto Rico has already seen strong growth in the all-important meetings and incentives sector, with leads and bookings in the sector already far surpassing the past three and five-year averages.
That’s while air access continues to grow, as reported by Caribbean Journal earlier this month.
And the island’s vital cruise sector is surging too, with an increase in January of 28.9 percent in cruise arrivals in San Juan, along with a 56.6 percent increase in homeport cruise passengers.
“We learned a great deal from our tourism counterparts in other destinations who have faced adversity, and that helped focus our efforts. We gleaned insights and historical data related to perception, and closely observed how media handled recovery coverage. We optimized our plans to ensure strong results,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.
And while most of the island’s luxury resorts have reopened, too, from Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve to the St Regis Bahia Beach, another iconic hotel will relaunch later this month with the reopening of the Caribe Hilton.