The executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC), Carla Campos, announced on June 12 that room tax collections for April 2019 have been the highest ever for that month.
Last April’s collections totaled $6,969,326.04, which reflects an increase of more than half a million dollars compared to April 2018, and exceeds the record set in April 2015, which amounted to $6,919,082.38.
The PRTC executive director informed that collections for short-term accommodations have been a contributing factor to increased revenues. For the month of April 2019, the income derived from short-term accommodations and platforms totaled $1,291,270, representing 18.5 percent of the total collection.
Campos stated that these numbers reflect “an evident increase” in hotel bookings and short-term rentals.
“If we consider that 12.5 percent of bookings in short-term rentals are attributed to resident stays, and the remaining 87.5 percent is the product of bookings from visitors who come to the island, it is evident that we are witnessing a growth in the amount of visitors who stay in Puerto Rico and generate a local economic spill,” she said.
The official added that the PRTC collected $60,923,118 between July 2018 and April 2019. Within that same timeframe for fiscal year 2017-2018, collections totaled $60,636,720, she said.
According to Campos, indicators for the tourism industry reflect a growth trend, and it is projected that by the end of the current fiscal year, collections will have exceeded $73 million.
There are more than 2,903 hotels registered in the PRTC’s room tax division and more than 25,000 rooms available. On average, a host enters on the platform $6,700 annually from its property rentals.
The executive director added that the PRTC’s educational campaign informing registered property owners on tax obligations to this government instrumentality has led to more registered hospices, which is an important element to this growth trend.
The PRTC, Campos explained, is the government entity that “imposes, fixes, determines, assesses, collects, supervises, distributes, regulates, investigates, and sanctions” the room tax.
“In 2019, we have registered 705 new hotelier accounts that add 1,977 rooms to our inventory... a key indicator that we are increasing the available inventory and promoting compliance with applicable regulations,” Campos said.
The PRTC is currently evaluating possible amendments to the laws and regulations applicable to short-term rentals in order to continue optimizing regulation in that sector, in line with best practices at the international level in order to position Puerto Rico as a vanguard destination that is also the Connector of the Americas and open for business.