“Meetings and conventions account for
about one in four rooms booked in Puerto
Rico,” said Milton Segarra, president and
CEO of Meet Puerto Rico. “And business
from the MICE market is important for the
overall success of our hospitality industry.
Nearly every major hotel development on
the island with 100 rooms or more has a
meeting space component and offers flexible and modern facilities.
“Even though in the last year we’ve been
facing certain challenges due to Zika and
the financial crisis the central government
has been facing, if you compare the March
through September window in 2015 versus
that same window in 2016—the months in
which Zika impacted perception the most
—we’ve been able to book more or less the
same number of groups, even though it has
been smaller groups,” he continued.
Segarra attributes the continuity in
Safety and Security
group bookings to Puerto Rico’s immediate
response to the Zika virus in the form of an
educational and health-related campaign
throughout the island. The U.S. territory is
also providing a unique research opportu-
nity for the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), which has prompted
Safety and security are top priorities for any
planner looking to bring a group overseas,
whether dealing with the prospect of a terrorist threat or a major health emergency.
The modern-day reality is that these situations could arise at any time and planners
need to be prepared, even at home.
“There are two new norms in travel we
have to consider, involving global safety
and health-related concerns,” Segarra said.
“Global safety may include what happened
in France, what happened in Italy, what
happens all over the world … and health
issues include the outbreak of SARS, Ebola
and other emergencies. Planners are look-
ing for destinations that can immediately
react in these situations.
“In Puerto Rico we have a few important advantages,” Segarra continued. “No.
1, we’re a territory of the U.S., that means
the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security, all
the federal security establishment is here.
In terms of health care situations, our
own resources in conjunction with the
CDC and the Health and Human Services
Department are present here. We present a
combined front against any situation.”
What’s New in Puerto Rico
Meet Puerto Rico is aware and ready to
respond to any concerns planners or their
attendees may have about meeting on the
island. And while it’s easy to focus on the
headlines, there is a lot of new and planned
development across the island that Puerto
Rico is proud of, in hospitality and beyond.
“In the last decade in Puerto Rico there
has been $3.3 billion worth of investment
Puerto Rico’s economic lifeblood is its tourism industry, with meetings and events playing a central role in driving business to this Caribbean island. But this year presented the U.S.
territory—where U.S. citizens can travel freely without
a passport—with a series of challenges, including an
ongoing debt crisis and the spread of the Zika virus in
South America and the Caribbean, which prompted
concern among travelers.
EL YUNQUE NATIONAL FOREST
A resilient Puerto Rico proves its staying
ISLA VERDE BEACH
power after a year of challenges