May 21, 2024

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PRTC records historic tourism activity | Top Stories

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The executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Carlos Mercado Santiago, presented a report on the data reflected by tourism in Puerto Rico during the first quarter of the year 2024, which show positive historical figures.

The numbers achieved surpass those previously recorded in sectors that are pillars of the tourism industry, such as: hotel occupancy tax collections (room tax); recovery of cruise ship visits; new air routes and increased frequencies, in addition to greater passenger movement at the island’s three main airports, among others.

“At the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, we are extremely pleased with the increase in tourism activity on the island at the beginning of the year. An example of this is the magnitude of the figures in occupancy tax collections for the month of March 2024, with a preliminary total of $16.4 million, making it the highest collection month in the history of the tax. This figure exceeds the $14.3M for the month of February 2024 and the $13.7 collected in the month of March 2023. The increase in these collections is constant, surpassing the numbers of previous years,” said Mercado Santiago.

The PRTC “has been active in leading industry events aimed at fostering relationships with major airlines and tour operators,” such as: ROUTES, ACI-NA Jumpstar, FITUR, WTM, among others.

According to the company, this participation has led to negotiations involving possible service launches with Latin American and European operators and important announcements, such as the establishment of a crew and aircraft base for Frontier Airlines, which will have a significant impact on jobs, payroll and economic development on the island.

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During the first quarter of 2024, several announcements of new routes and increased domestic and international flights have been made by different airlines, including 13 new Frontier routes; the continuation of Avianca flights between San Juan and Medellín throughout the year; the increase of ten weekly frequencies from Bogotá to San Juan; the increase of Iberia flights between Madrid and San Juan to seven weekly flights during most of the year; and the increase of COPA flights during the high summer season.

The cruise sector also reflects a growth trend in the number of cruise ships and passengers arriving at all Puerto Rico ports. During the first three months of the year, an estimated 545,564 passengers have been received, an increase of 3.4% over the figure reached in the first quarter of 2023. January was a particularly active month with a 20.6% increase in passengers compared to 2023. Overall projections for this year reflect a possible 8% increase in passenger arrivals and a 2.2% increase in cruise ship visits, for an estimated total of over 1.4 million passengers on 466 voyages by 26 cruise lines.

As in the air access sector, the PRTC has participated in industry events such as Seatrade Cruise Global 2024, where it had the opportunity to meet with senior executives from cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Azamara, Norwegian, Disney and MSC. Among the most important objectives achieved during the first half of the year were: the visit of the Icon of the Seas to Ponce; the arrival of the MCS Meraviglia; the return of the summer homeports with the start of the homeport season of Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas; the selection of Puerto Rico as the site of the Florida & Caribbean Cruise Association’s Annual Convention in 2025 and 2026; and the announcement of the visit of Royal Caribbean’s new ship Utopia of the Seas to Ponce on a technical stop.

On the other hand, the island’s tourism infrastructure is being transformed to maintain its competitiveness with announcements such as: the repair of the Army Terminal; the dredging of San Juan Bay and new facilities such as: the first dual-branded hotel in Puerto Rico, of the renowned international hotel chain Hilton; the construction of the Hamptons Inn in Ponce; the construction of the Square District, a new tourism project in the Mayagüez area; and the inauguration of the Fairfield by Marriott hotel in Luquillo.

“We can note with great satisfaction the success achieved in our goal of increasing the reach of the tourism industry for the benefit of the economy and the projection of Puerto Rico as a first-class destination globally. The figures achieved are the result of the work done in collaboration with Discover Puerto Rico, the Department of Economic Development, the Convention District Authority, the Ports Authority, municipalities, business associations and private sector initiatives,” said the PRTC head.


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