With construction of its new Convention Center on track for a late 2005 opening, Puerto Rico will serve as the official host for major conventions with delegates from North America, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean.
The Island’s latest piece of business in the large convention market comes from the Latin American Congress of Pediatricians (ALAPE for its acronym in Spanish) holding its 15th Congress at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in October, 2009. The six-day convention is expected to attract more than 3,000 attendees from 25 Latin American countries, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The Caribe Hilton was selected as the headquarter hotel for the event, which has an estimated economic impact to Puerto Rico of more than U.S. $1 million.
“Puerto Rico has the best technology in the Caribbean and Latin America,” says Héctor A. Benero, president, HB Travel Consultants, and the meeting planner responsible for the ALAPE Congress. “Plus, the Island is easily accessible by air, another key benefit to the physicians.”
“When the Board of Directors came to San Juan for a site inspection, they were extremely impressed with the size and capabilities of the new Convention Center,” Benero continues. “They liked the Island’s Latin flavor, its excellent shopping and delicious Puerto Rican cuisine. We’re working with subcommittees now, five years in advance, to assure an exceptional convention experience.”
In 2009, when the delegates arrive, the 113-acre/46-hectre Puerto Rico Convention Center District will be a bustling urban destination. “From the new Convention Center, delegates will be able to walk to world-class restaurants, shops, movie theater, casino, concert hall, parks and tropical gardens,” says Ana Maria Viscasillas, acting executive director, Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, marketing and sales agent for the new Convention Center. “The District will be a trend-setting lifestyle center, where residents and conventioneers will gather to enjoy the vibrant culture and energy distinctive to Puerto Rico.”
To date, business booked at the Puerto Rico Convention Center represents a total of more than 12,700 room nights, 10,500 attendees and an economic impact of U.S$8.9 million to the Island’s economy. High profile groups scheduled to meet at the facility represent a broad spectrum of industries, from academic and business to health and medical, bringing delegates from markets in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to ALAPE, these groups are: Latin American Studies Association, meeting at the new Convention Center in March, 2006; Society for American Archaeology, arriving in April, 2006, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, booked for September, 2007.
“We’re thrilled to be the venue for these prestigious groups,” Viscasillas says. “San Juan’s advanced technology, tropical beauty and Latin flair will combine to provide an extraordinary experience for conventioneers.”