Puerto Rico Tourism is launching Its newest regional branding program introducing ‘Porta Caribe’ to develop tourism in Southern Puerto Rico. Terestella Gonzalez Denton, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, recently announced the signing of an executive order by Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila institutionalizing the brand “Porta Caribe,” which will benefit 15 municipalities of the southern region of Puerto Rico.
The development of the “Porta Caribe” brand will lead to the creation of 900 new hotel rooms in the region, as indicated by the Director.
The tourist zone branded “Porta Caribe” will unite with the brand “Porta del Sol,” created last December to promote the western region of the island as a tourist destination. “Porta Caribe” will consist of the following 15 municipalities: Adjuntas, Arroyo, Coamo, Guanica, Guayama, Guayanilla, Juana Diaz, Jayuya, Patillas, Penuelas, Ponce, Salinas, Santa Isabel, Villalba and Yauco.
The announcement took place at an assembly of agency heads and mayors at the Ponce Hilton Hotel & Casino. The branding of Porta Caribe is yet another example of the commitment of this administration in driving a new organized and planned vision of tourist development, focused on regional and municipal aspects of tourism beyond those of the coasts of Puerto Rico.
“These brands—Porta del Sol and Porta Caribe—allow us to promote varied tourism offerings beyond the beaches and the San Juan metropolitan area that are nourished by these diverse regions full of natural beauty, Latin culture and distinct entertainment offerings that are abundant on our island,” affirmed Gonzalez Denton.
The executive order institutionalizes the “Porta Caribe” brand and defines the framework for action of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the municipalities and the private sectors related in this initiative of thorough development.
The Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, Hon. Jorge Silva Puras, indicated that “the Porta Caribe project will complement our efforts and will give the southern region its own character, not only as a tourist destination, but also as an attractive place for investment and first class infrastructure.”
Ponce’s mayor, Hon. Francisco Zayas Seijo, affirmed being “ready to embark on a plan of such significance” while thanking the Governor for “recognizing the urgency in accelerating tourist development for this region of great value and potential.”
This entire development, together with an investment of $12.2 million in improvements to the Regional Airport of Ponce (Mercedita) and the Americas Port “Rafael Cordero Santiago”—both important for the tourist development of Porta Caribe—is a significant advancement in supporting regional tourism.
Gonzalez Denton explained that the southern region already has an inventory of facilities and infrastructure on port, aerial and roads which favor the development of tourist activity in the region. Besides having countless natural, cultural and recreational features that are attractive to tourists, the executive director indicated that the region also benefits from organizations at the municipal level and the private sector which have been active in boosting development and support for tourism.
The executive director stated that as a result of the establishment of Porta del Sol as a tourist destination in 2003, the Airport Rafael Hernandez in Aguadilla has seen a maintained increase in passenger movement—from 230,976 in 2004 to 253,730 in 2005—which represents an increase of 9.9 percent. The total registry of visitors to Porta del Sol grew 7.1 percent, from 258,743 in 2004 to 277,015 in 2005. In addition, rooms sold in the area of Porta del Sol increased 5.8 percent, from 276,693 in 2004 to 292,789 in 2005, and rooms available grew 4 percent, from 652,959 in 2004 to 679,225 in 2005.
“I am sure that this integrated strategy, which has already shown results in the west, can be repeated successfully in the south, bringing true progress for tourism, Puerto Rico and our people,” concluded Gonzalez Denton.
For more information on Puerto Rico and Porta Caribe, please visit http://www.gotopuertorico.com/ .