Old San Juan

Old San Juan is a major tourist destination. >Archive

After a challenging year in tourism, due to the coronavirus pandemic, tourism in Puerto Rico is beginning to ramp up, thanks to more and more people getting the COVID-19 vaccines.

Spirit Airlines has announced new flights to San Juan out of New York City’s La Guardia Airport. The nonstop service between the island and the Big Apple, which is home to many New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent, is now available every Saturday.

JetBlue, which has a codeshare agreement with American Airlines, will add new flights to the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, starting July 1. These include daily flights from Newark’s Liberty International Airport to Aguadilla’s Rafael Hernández Airport. The carrier will also feature regular flights to from Newark to Antigua; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Lucia; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Our alliance with American opens the door for JetBlue to successfully enter into new markets, introducing more choices and our award-winning service and low fares to more customers,” said Scott Laurence, head of revenue and planning, JetBlue. “The alliance is also essential to getting our planes back in the air profitably and crewmembers working again.”

PRTC Expands Services at Information Centers

With the expected increase in tourists in the coming months, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) has also increased services at its 10 Information Centers throughout the island, including the main one at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

As reported by THE WEEKLY JOURNAL, the PRTC information centers will be restoring face-to-face services in full. In addition to offering general information about Puerto Rico, so-called Tourism Promotion Representatives will be giving information on the government’s latest Executive Order, which includes details on the mandatory use of masks in public and closed places, the social distancing rules to follow, and the legal consequences of not complying with established protocols.

“The commitment of the Tourism Co. is to continue collaborating with all relevant government agencies and contribute to ensuring that all sectors of the tourism industry are in compliance with the Executive Orders and the Health and Safety Plan of the PRTC to safeguard health and safety. everyone’s safety,” said Carlos Mercado Santiago, the designated executive director of the PRTC.

“With this initiative we seek to keep the public informed about the diversity of alternatives available for the enjoyment of vacations and positive experiences on the island, while complying with the required health standards,” he added.

The CEO of Aerostar, Jorge Hernández, said the initiative will help to “maximize” the visitor’s experience in Puerto Rico. “This new initiative… gives our passengers the opportunity to have a service to orient themselves about the spaces, attractions that we offer as a destination and the necessary security measures to enjoy safely. This becomes even more relevant in the context of the pandemic,” he said.

Renewed Focus on Golf Tourism

Meanwhile, Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization (DMO)’, is taking advantage of the recent Puerto Rico Open to renew efforts to promote the island as a golf destination.

The recent Puerto Rico Open on the PGA TOUR brought international attention to the island, highlighting its quality as a golf destination and its many natural attributes. During the two-year period of March 2019 to March 2021, Discover Puerto Rico’s promotional activity for the golf niche has generated an audience reach of more than 775 million with a value approaching $1 million, according to the DMO.

“Travel and tourism can drive economic growth and change lives when done well,” said Brad Dean, CEO, of Discover Puerto Rico. “It takes in-depth information to make astute strategic decisions, then superior execution to achieve objectives successfully. We believe our golf niche work is planting seeds that will bear fruitful returns for years to come.”

“Not only does the island have what most discerning golf travelers seek – great courses, lodging options near water, travel ease, and wonderful food – golf is coming off a record year with demand rising dramatically,” Dean said.

“Golf is ideally suited as a recreational activity thanks to social distancing inherently being part of the game. And Puerto Rico is an incredible place to play golf given its beauty, biodiversity, 18 courses, 4,000+ restaurants, astounding ocean views, and being the air hub of the Caribbean. Many key variables are in place for the island to continue its ascent as a must-visit place to play golf while embracing our enchanting island, culture and people,” he added.

Asst. Editor/Reporter for The Weekly Journal. She is a journalist with more than 20 years of experience. Rosario received both of her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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