Old San Juan colonial district

Puerto Rico’s destination management firm released statics documenting the territory’s strong 2019 tourist arrivals, highlighted by the island’s 1.67 million arrivals across its San Juan, Ponce, and Aguadilla airports between January and April, the most ever for the period in Puerto Rico history, said Discover Puerto Rico officials.

The firm also reported “tremendous growth” in the number of visitors beyond Puerto Rico’s historic capital city of San Juan during the same period. Discover Puerto Rico said visitor arrivals into Aguadilla’s Rafael Hernandez Airport between January and April were 44 percent above the previous 2017 record. The Aguadilla airport is on pace to receive 800,000 passengers this year, breaking the existing record of 519,751 arrivals in 2016.

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Consumer interest is Puerto Rico vacations have also surged, said officials, following Discover Puerto Rico’ efforts to reposition the destination’s marketing following the 2017 hurricanes. The firm’s statistics indicate consumers familiar with the new Discover Puerto Rico branding are staying “nearly three days longer” than consumers who are unfamiliar with the marketing campaign.

“We’re thrilled to report Puerto Rico’s tourism is the strongest it’s ever been,” said Brad Dean, Discover Puerto Rico’s CEO. “However, this is just the first step. Our ultimate objective is to put the transformative power of travel to work in Puerto Rico, by doubling the visitor economy and continuing to benefit the Island’s residents and businesses.”

Discover Puerto Rico’ revamped website is also driving consumer social media engagement and awareness of Puerto Rico, officials said. Discover Puerto Rico reports traffic to the new site is up 128 percent since its February launch.

In addition, time spent on the website is up 31 percent, page views are up 228 percent, and the site’s “bounce” rate (the rate of single-page sessions) is down by 13 percent, indicating the content is driving interest, officials said. The revamped site has also fielded 40,000 referrals to local businesses and points of interest.

Dean said Puerto Rico’s tourism infrastructure and services have rebounded quickly from the crippling fall 2017 storms. “Despite the World Travel & Tourism Council estimating a recovery between 2021 and 2022, and New Orleans taking eight years to get back to pre-Katrina levels,” he said, “we set an aggressive goal to fast-track the visitor economy at a record pace, for the benefit of local communities.”