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Puerto Rico Tourism Industry Calls For News Coverage Of The Island’s Positive Milestones As The One Year Anniversary Of Hurricane Maria Approaches

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, August 20, 2018 – Discover Puerto Rico announced today a new initiative to underscore the progress Puerto Rico’s tourism industry has made since Hurricane Maria. As the one year mark approaches and old imagery resurfaces in the news and in social media, local tourism and community members are rallying audiences everywhere, including news media, to #CoverTheProgress and share real-time Island imagery and the many milestones that have led the Island in one of the greatest comeback stories in tourism.This initiative stemmed from the strong sentiment of the local community paired with reactions from recent travelers to Puerto Rico. Tourism benefits everyone on the Island, and sharing the positive milestones achieved within the tourism industry will help continue to attract travelers – helping to drive the recovery forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Six months after Hurricane Maria hit, more than fifty percent of travelers said media coverage negatively impacted their view of Puerto Rico as a destination and we’re hoping to change that as the one year anniversary approaches. Puerto Rico declared itself open for tourism in late December, and the local tourism industry has worked very hard for the past year to come back strong. There’s a lot to celebrate and we don’t want the one year anniversary to set us back,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “While there’s still progress to be made in some areas of the Island, we’re asking for the vibrancy of Puerto Rico as a tourism destination to also be shared and for the milestones the local industry and communities worked hard to achieve to be celebrated. We’re taking this moment to encourage all audiences to help us spotlight our tourism recovery and invite travelers to visit us as tourism is a vital contributor to the economy.”

As part of this initiative, local members of Humacao – one of the Island’s hardest hit communities that became well known for the S.O.S. image that went viral in the immediate aftermath of the storm – have a message to share. They came together with the local tourism industry to replace the aerial image in hopes that this image also goes viral. This time, the message reads: “Bienvenidos!”

“Being on the Island and completely disconnected, we didn’t realize how far our picture traveled. We’re thankful it did. But now, we’re ready to turn the page. We’ve been wanting to clean up that message for a while as we’re past it. We were asked what message we’d want to share with the world and hope our new positive message spreads just as fast,” said Janet Gonzalez, resident of Humacao.

The following are among the many tourism milestones achieved:

  • Arrivals by Air and by Sea. 
    • Flight capacity is on the rise with monthly seat capacity surpassing the 420,000 figure. There are currently on average 110 daily flights via 28 different airlines, and relationships with airlines continue to drive growth. By Q4, the destination is poised to make a full turnaround and be on par with 2017 levels.
    • Puerto Rico has more cruises on the Island than ever before with 14 vessels – which is four more vessels than last year. The Island also has 119 cruise shore excursions for travelers to enjoy.
    • In fact, cruise tourism in May turned out to be the best results for that month in the last 20 years, with 107,390 cruise passengers received. This was 12.9% higher than the 95,139 cruise passengers who visited in May last year.
    • All-in-all, for the next cruising season, a record breaking $1.7 million passengers are expected, which equates to approximately $250 million in revenue.
  • The Return of Luxury. 
    • Puerto Rico currently offers 132 diverse lodging options. Next month, travelers will have even more choices with iconic luxury hotels reopening after taking the time to renovate and new hotels opening their doors.
    • In October, 657 new rooms will be available from the Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve El San Juan Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton and The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort. In December, 480 new rooms will be available from Meliá Coco Beach. And, in January, an additional 652 new rooms will be available from Caribe Hilton. Additional revamping includes El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Resort and The Ritz-Carlton San Juan.
    • The investment in new hotel development equates to $1.9 billion, which adds another 2,900 jobs locally.
  • What’s Next in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE). 
    • Puerto Rico is already a prime destination for hosting Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events. Coming next year is District LIVE!, a five acre hospitality and entertainment district built in partnership between Island Hospitality Partners and the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority. This complex is destined to be the most vibrant and popular setting for events, conventions and performances of all types in the Caribbean region.
  • Destination Attractions to Discover. 
    • Puerto Rico offers over 189 tourist attractions, including walking tours through Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal and the Bacardi Distillery. The Island also offers salsa tours that visit famous places to dance your heart out, caving systems like Cueva Ventana, Toro Verde Adventure Park and El Yunque rainforest – the largest rainforest in the U.S. While nature takes its course, many trails of El Yunque are already open – including the Angelito Trail, La Coca Falls and the Yakahu Tower.
    • The islands of Culebra and Vieques are ready to welcome visitors, too. Culebra is home to Flamenco Beach, recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are day excursions to the islands if you are staying in mainland Puerto Rico.
    • The bioluminescent bays are an experience not to miss, and Puerto Rico has three of the world’s five. The reflection of microorganisms causes the water to glow when touched. Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays are located in Mosquito Bay in Vieques; Laguna Grande in Fajardo; and La Parguera in Lajas.
    • There are plenty of culinary options with more than 1,885 restaurants across the Island, including Culebra and Vieques. Puerto Rico is a foodie’s paradise.
    • For those looking for golf and added entertainment, the Island offers 13 professional golf courses, 16 casinos and plenty of nightlife options like bars and clubs.

It’s easy to plan a trip to Puerto Rico – no passport is required for U.S. citizens or green card holders, and U.S. currency is used. Visit DiscoverPuertoRico.com for current offers and information on the Island’s wide array of offerings in adventure, culture and cuisine.

About the Destination Marketing Organization  

Discover Puerto Rico is a newly established private, not for-profit enterprise whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world as a premier travel destination. The DMO will bring prosperity to the people of Puerto Rico by collaboratively positioning the Island’s diversity and uniqueness for leisure, business and events. It is responsible for all global marketing, sales and promotion of the destination and must work collaboratively with key local governmental and non-governmental stakeholders throughout Puerto Rico’s visitor economy and community at large, while powering economic growth.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News

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St. Kitts Welcomes Wednesday Peak Season Service from United Airlines

Basseterre, St. Kitts (August 20, 2018) – For the first time in the island’s history, United Airlines will fly a second weekly nonstop flight from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts, complementing the carrier’s existing Saturday service.

“The addition of a mid-week flight by United Airlines marks yet another historic first for St. Kitts this year,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce. “I could not be more pleased to welcome this additional service, which increases the available options for visitors and Diaspora to get to island during peak travel season from the New York metropolitan area, which is our primary source market for arrivals.”

For the period from January 9 through March 6, 2019, United will operate a total of 9 scheduled round-trip, non-stop Wednesday flights between Newark and St. Kitts. 

Depart                         Arrive

EWR 8:35am               SKB 2:05pm

SKB 3:05pm                EWR 7:07pm 

*Note: Flights are listed in local time and schedules are subject to change. St. Kitts observes Atlantic Standard Time (AST; UTC-4 hours).

“We are thrilled that United has decided to provide a second weekly non-stop flight to St. Kitts,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “Having a Wednesday flight gives travelers more flexibility in their vacation planning and provides increased capacity during the period when demand is highest. This is a testament to the success of our work to grow North American airlift from key gateways in order to accommodate new hotel developments and existing hotel product upgrades.”

United first began serving St. Kitts in December 2015 and continues to operate non-stop Saturday flights from Newark. With the addition of these 9 Wednesday flights, there is a greater potential for an increase in air passenger arrivals into St. Kitts.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,600 flights a day to 357 airports across five continents. In 2017, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 148 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark/New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 757 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 551 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.

About St. Kitts

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are water sports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach. For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

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Sallie Fraenkel Speaker at Statia Sustainability Conference

ORANJESTAD, St. Eustatius (August 15, 2018) Sallie Fraenkel, will headline the seventh annual Statia Sustainability Conference, scheduled to be held September 27 and 28 at the Mike van Putten Youth Centre.

Fraenkel is the founder and President of Mind Body Spirit Network, a four-year old company that brings together like-minded individuals through events and travel. She has produced over 29 events on subjects ranging from “clean beauty” to “transformative travel”.

Former chief marketing and chief operations officer of SpaFinder and executive vice president of the Global Spa and Wellness Summit, Fraenkel has over 30 years of experience in the spa, wellness and entertainment industries.

During her tenure at SpaFinder, she oversaw the expansion of the company, including the award-winning website Spafinder.com, Luxury SpaFinder Magazine, the gift card division and all marketing and technology activities for the company.

She was the creator of events including Aspen Spa Days, The Spa Experience Aspen and The Spa Experience Grand Central.  In 2013, Fraenkel ran the Global Spa and Wellness Summit in New Delhi, India. She is co-chair of the Social Impact Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute and sits on the board of Gift of Hope, a non-profit helping women and children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Registration for the sustainability conference, which is organized by the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation (STDF), Excellence Consultancy, PEECC, St. Eustatius National Park (STENAPA) and THE Eastern Caribbean Public Health Foundation (ECPHF), is now open. Interested persons may contact the STDF.

Get familiar with Statia world wide

In recognition of the island’s efforts towards sustainable tourism policy and quality, on the 30th of August 2016, Statia was presented with a Bronze QualityCoast Award by Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Mr. Henk Kamp. The island of St. Eustatius won an award: No Anansi Story! – Best Feature By A Caribbean Journalist Rickisha St. Louis of Grenada Broadcasting Network for her broadcast feature on St. Eustatius entitled, “St. Eustatius: The Caribbean’s Hidden Treasure” has been broadcasting on the Caribbean Media Corporation’s Carib-Vision http://youtu.be/qrU-MQd0jv8.

St. Eustatius, The Caribbean’s Hidden Treasure was categorized in the Top 8 Caribbean Towns in the world http://www.lonelyplanet.com/caribbean/travel-tips-and-articles/76984 by Robert Reid of Lonely Planet. On October 19, 2012, St. Eustatius was named “The Caribbean Shangri-La” story published in the famous Washington Post http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-19/lifestyle/35499555_1_kapok-scorpion-crater by Scott Elder. In 1991, the Simon Doncker House Museum won an American Express Award as the best example of historic preservation in the Caribbean area.

About the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation
The St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation is the agency responsible for promoting and developing tourism on St. Eustatius. The mission is to get the island Government to lend greater priority to tourism by providing adequate funding to effectively and efficiently promote tourism in key markets; ensuring a quality tourism product by introducing and controlling the minimum standard requirements; preparing future generations to take on greater responsibilities within this sector by means of teaching tourism as a subject on levels of the education system.

The St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation office is located at The Godet House on Kerk weg, St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean. Tel: +599 318 2433 or +5993182107; E-mail: [email protected] ; Facebook/Twitter: St. Eustatius Tourism; Website: www.statia-tourism.com.

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Aeromexico announces new flight to Belize

Belize City, Monday, 13th August, 2018:   Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, today announced the start of a seasonal twice a week nonstop flight to Belize starting on November 17th to April 28th making it the first major Mexican commercial airline to offer such service to the country of Belize.

Aeromexico’s flight 67 will be on Saturdays and Sundays. It will depart Mexico at 8:30 am and will arrive at the Phillip S. W. Goldson International Airport at 10:30 am.  It will depart Belize at 12:00 and arrive in Mexico at 2:25 pm.

“Mexico is a fast growing market for Belize and therefore we welcome Aeromexico’s new flight as it will highly facilitate the movement of people between both neighboring countries. Belize is a country of countless attributes. Its cultural and natural wealth is virtually unmatched.  Its indigenous lineage and multiple ethnic groups, excellent cuisine and friendly people, and the many historical attractions, festivals and natural wonders all makes Belize a perfect Destination, which Mexicans will surely enjoy,” said Mrs. Karen Bevans, BTB’s Director of Tourism.

Mrs. Bevans added that “the BTB is also dedicated to developing and implementing tourism programs that will help strengthen and grow the Belizean tourism industry; promote good destination stewardship; and instill high quality standards for accommodations.”

Announcing the new flight, Aeromexico’s Chief Revenue Officer, Anko van der Werff said “At Aeromexico, we are very happy to celebrate this new route that has also become the airline’s 50th international destination, which will help us expand our global connectivity network. This achievement is another sign that we are working to offer better products to our customers, removing barriers between countries, regions, and people.”

Aeromexico first served New York City in 1957 as its first outside of Mexico destination and since than it has become Mexico’s global airline set on a course to offer travellers enhanced options to connect them with the world.

Aeromexico has served the Central American market for more than 11 years and operates more than 600 scheduled passenger flights per day, with service to 43 destinations in Mexico and 49 international destination from Mexico City. Its fleet  of more than 130 aircraft includes Boeing 787 and 737 jet airliners.

For further details on the new route please visit www.aeromexico.com

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Dive into Pure Grenada’s Underwater Festival

St. George’s, Grenada – August 8, 2018 – Grenada, home of the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park and the Caribbean’s largest wreck dive, the Bianca C, will take the party beneath the surface with the second annual Pure Grenada Dive Fest. The four-day event will take place from October 3-6 and is designed to showcase the destination’s rich and diverse eco-system as well as the bountiful and vibrant marine life that can be found off the islands’ shores.

“This is the only event of its kind on the island and we hope that dive enthusiasts and lovers of the sea will travel to Pure Grenada to enjoy the events we have scheduled,” said Patricia Maher, CEO of Grenada Tourism Authority. “It is the second year of the event and our continued goal is to put the spotlight on Grenada and Carriacou’s amazing undersea world and one-of-a-kind aquatic offerings.”

The first two days of the festival provides participants with the opportunity to discover the destination’s reefs and wreck sites. The festival kicks off on October 3 with the theme of Reef Diving in Grenada and Carriacou, which is known as the Isle of Reefs. Underwater photo enthusiasts can register to participate in the photography competition with the chance to win prizes for categories such as the most creative selfie, best reef photo and best wreck photo. Day two, themed Wreck Diving, caters to all divers offering a beginner’s pool diving course and the opportunity for certified divers to explore some of the islands’ 14 wreck dives including the newest, M/V Anina.

The second half of the festival presents a robust schedule of sustainable activities for participants to make a positive impact on Grenada’s underwater ecosystem. October 5, or Project Aware Dive Against Debris day, includes scheduled clean-up dives off the shores of all three islands and local school outreach presentations that aim to educate Grenada’s next generation on best practices in dive marine conservation. The final day of the festival, Invasive Lionfish Eradication Diving day, starts at Morne Rouge Bay/BBC Beach with the boats sent off to predetermined dive locations and reconvening with their catches at Coconut Beach Restaurant on Grand Anse Beach. The Lionfish are prepared and served at the evening social event where the underwater photographers will be awarded for their photos.

Grenada’s coast is a haven for seahorses, turtles, sharks and rays due to the warm waters and healthy coral reef systems and sponges. Divers and underwater photographers have the opportunity to see a plethora of species of fish and marine creatures in the islands’ waters.

There is no registration fee for the Pure Grenada Dive Festival. Interested parties are invited to visit www.puredivinggrenada.com to choose their preferred dive shops to book specific events listed in the festival calendar. The official hashtag of the festival is #PureDiveFest.

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Jamaica to Host Tourism Resilience Summit of the Americas in September

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica; July 27, 2018: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that Jamaica will host a resilience summit with key global stakeholders and thought leaders on September 13 at the University of the West Indies, Mona. The date was selected to commemorate hurricanes Irma and Maria, two of the most devastating weather systems to have affected the region.

“This summit forms part of my ministry’s efforts to build resilience within the region and globally. Resilience building has become even more crucial in a world that is hyper connected and as such more susceptible to climate change, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism and cybercrime,” Minister Bartlett said.

The resilience summit, to be held under the theme ‘Tourism Resilience through Global Synergies’, will seek to assess existing and emerging disruptions related to tourism management globally;  examine the risk of these disruptions to the global tourism product; and identify a synergetic strategic and operational framework for mutual partnerships between and among major governmental, non-governmental and business entities to address as well as develop mitigation strategies for these global disruptions.

Speaking today at the press conference in Montego Bay to announce the summit, Minister Bartlett added that this is “A precursor to the official launch of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre in January next year and this centre will be the global hub to assist destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that affect tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally.”

The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre was one of the major outcomes of the Global Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism under the esteemed partnership of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Slated to be housed at the University of the West Indies, Mona, the Centre will have a Chairman of the Board of Directors and Vice Chairmen include Dr. Talib Rifai, former UNWTO Secretary General and the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica. Dr. Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Professor Lee Miles, Professor of Crisis management at Bournemouth University, England will be members of the Board of Directors.

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