By the Caribbean Journal staff
It’s not just about a tourism recovery anymore.
Puerto Rico’s crucial tourism sector is in the midst of a full-fledged boom, according to newly-released data provided to Caribbean Journal.
Airport arrivals to Puerto Rico’s San Juan, Ponce and Aguadilla airports totaled 1.67 million in the first four months of the year, the highest-ever total in that period in Puerto Rico’s history.
The visitor surge was accompanied by $445 million in tourism revenue through May, another record total for the period.
“Despite the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimating a recovery between 2021-2022, and New Orleans taking eight years to get back to pre-Katrina levels, we set an aggressive goal to fast-track the visitor economy at a record pace, for the benefit of local communities,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.
The totals are part of a sizzling tourism sector that is “the strongest it’s ever been” in Puerto Rico, according to Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, the territory’s destination marketing organization.
“This is just the first step,” Dean said. “Our ultimate objective is to put the transformative power of travel to work in Puerto Rico, by doubling the visitor economy, and continuing to benefit Puerto Rico’s residents and businesses. It’s critical to ensure we have the right resources to continue this momentum,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.”
And the tourism momentum includes hotel development, too.
That’s highlighted by last month’s announcement of major new $1.5 billion destination resort development anchored by a new Hyatt Regency — a development that could eventually total 2,500 rooms in the Coco Beach area.
It joins new projects like the luxury boutique O:LV Fifty Five and the recent reentry of Wyndham with its Candelero Beach Resort in Humacao on Puerto Rico’s southeastern coast.
That’s in addition to a wave of transformations and renovations across the destination, including both the revamped Caribe Hilton and the reimagined El San Juan, the latter of which reopened at the end of last year.
And it’s not limited to the “mainland.” Vieques, long one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, also has a significant new hotel project already underway thanks to British developer Keith St Clair.
And this fall, the highly-anticipated District San Juan will open, featuring a five-acre hospitality and entertainment district modeled on the very successful LA Live in Los Angeles.