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Puerto Rico MICE Business Up Despite Zika


SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — Puerto Rico’s group business closes off what has become known as the initial Zika period (March to May) on a strong note, with 57 new booked events, conferences, annual meetings and sports activities through 2017, it was announced June 6.

This represents a total direct spend of potentially $20.4 million into the local economy, according to Milton Segarra, president and CEO of Meet Puerto Rico destination marketing organization.

During the upcoming summer months of June, July and August, Meet Puerto Rico will host 42 groups, for a total of approximately 40,000 room nights, providing a $32 million impact during this period. These groups range from conferences and events, to religious and sports organizations, to communications and insurance companies. In addition, Meet Puerto Rico is actively generating 260 new leads, up from 242 for the same time last year, as well as 100 new accounts for the destination.

“The groups and conventions segment in Puerto Rico is a major driver in the tourism industry and we are proud to say that Zika has not won. Groups booked range from multinational companies, to medical, educational conferences and sporting events, among others. An estimated 25,000 new hotel-room nights in total have been booked,” said Segarra.

Segarra attributed the success to the strong support and partnership that exists between Meet Puerto Rico and its members — the hotel industry, restaurants, transportation companies, local DMCs, venues, attractions, audio-visual and entertainment companies, as well as the support of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association.

“When the Zika situation hit, we immediately put into action a strong meeting professional/attendee-centred strategy that included a fact-driven education and communication program addressing the concerns of our clients,” said Segarra. “We listened to them and provided the most accurate and up-to-date information on Puerto Rico concerning Zika, and it paid off. As a result, our clients trusted us, our team in the field and our members.”