THE BAJA POST
SOURCE: PRN MEDIA
Discover Puerto Rico, the Island’s Destination Marketing Organization, is closing fiscal year 2022-2023 with record numbers in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector driven by a strong roster of events hosted in the destination, and a stellar lineup of those forthcoming this year and the following. Puerto Rico’s growing infrastructure and notable value propositions, including no passport or currency exchange required for U.S. travelers, make it an attractive MICE destination, coupled with the Island’s rich and diverse culture, which cements its appeal for meeting planners and attendees.
“On top of a record-breaking year for Puerto Rico in MICE in 2022, this year is continuing strong with the Island hosting a wide variety of events, and bookings for venues on the rise. Our booking statistics in MICE demonstrate that the Island’s meetings spaces continue to drive record-breaking success. We look forward to keeping the momentum into the next fiscal year and maintaining our presence as a premier hosting destination,” said Ed Carey, Chief Sales Officer at Discover Puerto Rico.
The Island has seen a successful year in travel and group bookings with notable figures including the following, speaking to the efforts that inspire planners to “Make Your Meeting Boricua.”
- The economic impact of fiscal year 22-23 (groups booked July – May) is $129.5 million, 16% higher than the same timeframe in fiscal year 21-22, and 57% higher than fiscal year 18-19. (Simpleview)
- Booked group room nights in 2022 doubled those from 2021, and the number of events currently booked for the remainder of 2023 are 41% higher versus the same time last year and 89% higher than the 2019 benchmark. (Simpleview)
- Travel spending increased by 26.7% as of January 2023, compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. (Tourism Economics)
- A 26.2% increase in air passengers as of January 2023, when compared to same time in 2019. (Airline Data Inc. TSA)
- A 24.4% increase in hotel demand as of January 2023, when compared to same time in 2019. (STR)
- The Island has more than 16,750 short-term rentals available with services such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, and Join a Join as of March 2023. (AirDNA)
- Hotels and rentals generated more than $500M in revenue in Q1 2023; 24% higher than 2022 and 78% higher than pre-pandemic revenue. (STR)
- Total air arrivals into SJU are 21% higher for Q1 than a year ago. (SJU Airport)
To-date in 2023, Puerto Rico has hosted several notable conferences and events including:
- ASTA (May 2 – 4, 2023) – The American Society of Travel Agents held its global convention on the Island last month. Hosted at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino, over 500 travel advisors and nearly 900 attending travel professionals learned about Puerto Rico and participated in a welcoming party at the popular entertainment complex DISTRITO T-Mobile.
- WWE (May 5 – 6, 2023) – The world-renowned professional wrestling company brought its superstars to the Island for a special episode of its Friday-night programming, SmackDown. In addition, WWE also held its special event, Backlash, in the Coliseum of Puerto Rico for an audience of over 17,000 fans.
- WITS (May 19 – 21, 2023) – The Women in Travel Summit, a premier event for entrepreneurs, influencers, destination marketing organizations and marketers who work in travel, hosted its event at the iconic Caribe Hilton Puerto Rico, welcoming over 600 travel content creators.
A variety of top tier events are forthcoming for the remainder of the calendar year and into 2024. Highlights include:
- SATW, (September 7 – 11) – The Society of American Traveler Writers is an organization consisting of the travel industry’s top journalists, photographers, editors, bloggers, producers, and public relations experts. In addition to day tours, SATW will host a marketplace on the Island allowing for premier networking opportunities.
- IGLTA, (October 4 – 7) – The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association is the world’s leading network of LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses. Members included in IGLTA range from destinations, service providers, travel agents and more, across over 80 destinations.
- TSNN, (October 27 – 29) – The Trade Show News Network will be hosting its 13th annual awards in Puerto Rico this fall. Among the many awards being honored is the “Best of Innovation Awards” given to the best new marketing campaign or a virtual/hybrid event that goes above and beyond.
Puerto Rico is home to standout venues with exceptional capabilities, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and unique spaces that attract groups and events of varying interests. From DISTRITO T-Mobile, a world class five-acre experiential complex located in the heart of San Juan that combines the best in art, music, dining and technology, to the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the largest and most technologically advanced meeting facility in the region, to the Coliseum of Puerto Rico, an indoor arena perfect for entertainment and sport events, to the smaller and intimate Antiguo Casino, the preferred venue for wedding celebrations and other significant social events; Puerto Rico has memorable venues for groups and events.
The Island’s natural wonders like bioluminescent bays and rainforest, coupled with its rich culture, make for an excellent visit for meetings attendees. Discover Puerto Rico’s sales and services team offers personalized support to “Make Your Meeting Boricua,” with extraordinary experiences that immerse attendees in a rich heritage unlike any other in the world, such as one-of-a-kind CSR (corporate social responsibility), and a newly launched retreat product, perfect for corporate wellness immersions, that can be curated for any group.