Puerto Rico Tourism Industry Continues to Break Records | Business
Increasing reservations and longer stays keep trending in the hospitality sector as records show tourism on the island continues to push past records. This achievement comes despite the tourism industry facing a volatile economic scenario, due to concerns associated with inflation, air transport, high fuel prices, and international diplomatic concerns.
Since the beginning of 2022, Puerto Rico has broken its jobs’ record in the leisure and hospitality sectors every month. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, beginning from January 2022 till June 2022, each month has surpassed the previous record of employment to ultimately reach 86,700 workers.
“The current leisure and hospitality employment statistics confirm that the tourism industry in Puerto Rico continues to strengthen steadily. Thanks to the combined efforts of the public and private sectors, in recent months, we have not only seen a sustained increase in jobs, but we have also achieved historical figures in room tax collections and passengers transiting through our airports”, commented Carlos Mercado, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination management organization (DMO), reported that combined data from firms Smith Travel Research (STR) and AirDNA show the $1 billion revenue mark for tourism was reached in July, three months earlier than in 2021.
“We have hit that mark for only the second time in history, and we’ve done it three months earlier than last year. Despite industry concerns, we’ve seen increased demand for lodging over last year’s record-setting pace. Through the end of July, total lodging demand is 18% higher than a year ago, with hotels booking 17% more business and rentals 20% more,” said Alisha Valentine, Director of Research and Analytics at Discover Puerto Rico.
Reservations for the remaining two quarters of 2022, in both hotels and private rentals, are projected to be above pre-pandemic levels. Based on a presentation by Discover Puerto Rico the fourth quarter of the year is the most promising, with bookings 6% higher than in 2021 in the case of hotels, and 12% higher for short-term rentals.
As a response to the positive results coming from the “Live Boricua” campaign, Discover Puerto Rico has decided to partner with Puerto Rican influencers to host channels to educate their audience on the meaning of “Boricua,” (native Puerto Rican).
Data from Destination Analysis suggest that nearly a third of visitors’ motivation to come to the island is to return home to the island or visit family. Local culture is also a significant motivator closely following positive weather forecast.
Despite the positive results coming from the tourism sector, Brad Dean, CEO for Discover Puerto Rico, maintains the company will continue to closely monitor the upcoming year.
“Discover Puerto Rico is maintaining a close watch over data and trends so that we are prepared to react quickly and decisively as we seek out every opportunity to continue the momentum our island’s tourism industry has enjoyed,” Dean added.
“Regardless of our positive results, the outlook for tourism is a mixed bag of positives and negatives, creating a lot of uncertainty for many in our industry. We know that many factors are impacting our industry in the second half of 2022, not only here in Puerto Rico but throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Demand for travel remains high, yet concerns about inflation and the economy are creating a lot of uncertainty for businesses and travelers alike. Employment is at its highest level ever in our local tourism industry, but most businesses are still understaffed and eagerly seeking to hire more people. And while cruisers are ready to resume cruising, the cruise line industry is still battling through the most difficult comeback of any segment within our industry,” Dean said.