Puerto rico believes that the new relationship between cuba and the united states will generate new opportunities
Puerto Rico tourist industry recorded a good behavior in 2014, thanks to the arrival of more than two million foreign tourists. Its main transmitter market is United States, a country which, in short, could divert part of its tourists to Cuba, thanks to the normalization of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, Marimar Lidin, Director of the tourism office of Puerto Rico in Europe, says that in his country’s tourist industry there is no fear before a possible new competitor, “but rather see it as the opening of new opportunities”. On the other hand, is very satisfied with the behavior of the European market, and especially the Spanish, which grew more than 40 per cent in 2014,.
USA is the first issuing country of foreign tourists to Puerto Rico. A market that, in short, might share with Cuba, as a result of the easing of restrictions on travel and trade between the U.S. and Cuban. However, the Puerto Rican industry does not feel concerned about this new scenario, far from compete, they believe could collaborate, Marimar Lidin, Director of the tourism office of Puerto Rico in Europe, said in an interview with this newspaper.
“From Latin America and Europe, Cuba always has been open, which does not imply a new competitor to the market with which I work.” The European already know Cuba”, adds.
“In the first few months there will be an element of curiosity, by the fact of having not been able to travel to this country, especially the young people”, explains the Director of tourism. However, “the industry of Puerto Rico believes that many business opportunities can be opened. After many years of working with American tourism, we have a know-how on this market and will not be few Cuban entrepreneurs, when you are completely done opening, that will want to have the experience of the tourism entrepreneurs pueroriquenos”.
“I think that we will return to work as it did before the 58, when it was very normal to do combined packages between the two countries.” I would return just the origins. There is a fear, but rather see it as the opening of new opportunities”.
Growth in the Spanish market
On the other hand, explains Lidin, Puerto Rico closed 2014 with more than two million foreign tourists, taking into account only the hosted endorsed hotels – those that meet certain characteristics, and which are those who recorded the Puerto Rico tourism company to develop the statistics-. European tourism grew by 13% over the previous year, with Spain, England and Germany as a major emitting countries. Within this market, “the fastest growing see it reflected in Spain, with 40.5%, helped by the opening of the direct flight of Air Europa,” points out.
In April 2013, Iberia cancelled flight Madrid-San Juan de Puerto Rico, which reduced significantly the visits of Spanish, said Lidin. However, in May of last year, Air Europe began to operate the same way, which favored his recovery in the next semester. In particular, 5,500 Spaniards stayed in hotels endorsed last year. Marimar Lidin insists this clarification, since the total figure is higher, according to data from the air carriers, but many stay in another type of accommodation or in the homes of friends and family, because there are many Spaniards who live here due to the large presence of companies of our country on the island.
The second market, after the United States, is the domestic, followed, almost at the same time, European and Caribbean. “the small islands of the Caribbean used our country as capital of the region, medical services, shopping and leisure,” explains the Director of tourism. “then we have a mix of Latin Americaheaded by Colombia, Panama, Brazil and Mexico, among others,”adds.
In 2014, British grew by 28%, and of German, 26%, and predict that this year those numbers be overcome in at least 15%. Lidin shows also very optimistic with respect to the scope of the cruise – this country is one of the main points of berthing of the Caribbean, since it expects an increase of 30%. In 2014, received 1.5 million cruise ship passengers, 16% more than in the previous year.
First tourism fair
On the other hand, from 13 to 17 may, San Juan de Puerto Rico will host the international tourism Expo, TSI, the first international exhibition tourism of the country and the region. “we are very excited about this project because we are going to attract travel agents of the major markets around the world to get to know the offer of Puerto Rico”, the Caribbean and Latin American countries that are going to be present”, says Marimar Lidin.