Market focused on experiences leads to changes in tourism

SAN JUAN – The tourism industry has seen major changes in the past few years, from tourists’ expectations to the role it plays in social and economic discussions. In turn, this has meant a change of focus in terms of tendencies and strategies for the structures that manage the tourism sector in different jurisdictions.

“This is not the same business it was when we signed up 15 years ago,” Don Welsh, CEO of Destination International said when delivering his presentation on the state of the tourism industry during the Meet Puerto Rico annual assembly.


One of the elements that has propelled these changes is that travelers look for destinations with many experiences, which has meant they are paying attention to elements that were not so important before.

An example of this is what Welsh called the “weaponization of travel,” referring to the growing trend of boycotting destinations as a response to a controversial action taken by a government of a particular jurisdiction.

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Welsh used the North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, or HB2, which would establish that transgender people must use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. As part of the opposition to this bill, corporations, nonprofit organizations, individuals and even governments from other states canceled their travel plans to North Carolina.

While components from all sectors are involved in this strategy, Welsh explained that they do not do so in the same way. Corporations and governments tend to be more explicit when it comes to boycotting. On the other hand, individuals tend not to take firm positions until a situation directly affects them, and even then the boycott tends to be more subtle.

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“They’ll [tourists] say, ‘there are many alternatives.’ If they see something that they do not feel good about ethically, morally or whatever, they just won’t go there, but in many cases they won’t say it. They’ll just make their decision quietly,” Welsh explained.

Other factors that have changed do to a proliferation of educated tourists are the need to have “the fundamentals,” or a destination’s infrastructure, “in place,” as well as shifting old publicity models and implementing a cohesive brand strategy, such as destination branding.

“Travelers don’t want the standard ‘I come to a major city and I only see that city.’ They want to get out. The want to experience things and they want to experience things that are unique to the city they are in,” Welsh said, adding this applies to different age groups, not just leisure travelers, but also people traveling for business or to attend a convention.

In line with this statement, Milton Segarra, CEO of Meet Puerto Rico, explained that destinations that have had success in the meetings and conventions tourism market have campaigns that promote other activities and not just the hotel or convention center’s amenities. In some of the ads from other countries shown in the presentation, the same images were used for advertising directed at leisure travelers and those aimed at business travelers, and only the written message changed.

When designing a brand for the destination, Welsh argued that there is now a greater need for a “holistic approach” to revealing a destination and that sectors that are not traditionally associated with tourism have to be included. There is also a greater need to ensure that all sectors are aligned with the brand-marketing strategy.

Despite the changes that have occurred in the industry and the elements that may serve as detractors to travel, Welsh said that tourism around the world has not decreased, on the contrary, it is undergoing growth at a rate of 6 percent compared with 2016, which is a healthy percentage considering the doom and gloom predicted at the beginning of the year and the end of 2016,” Welsh said.

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Over 70 leaders join first ‘frente por Puerto Rico’ meeting to lobby US congress

Puerto Rico Secretary of State Luis G. Rivera Marín, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and Gov. Ricardo Rosselló during the first Frente por Puerto Rico meeting. (Courtesy)

SAN JUAN – More than 70 Puerto Rican leaders from diverse sectors—social, political and economic—took part Tuesday in the first meeting of Frente por Puerto Rico (Front for Puerto Rico), a group created by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to lobby for fundamental issues for the island before the U.S. Government and Congress.

Specifically, the group will focus on three themes: that the island be granted healthcare funding parity with the states; to have it included in the federal tax reform; and that the recommendations of the Promesa-created Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico be approved.

The legislative presidents, the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) minority leaders in the House and Senate, PDP President Héctor Ferrer, and a group of agency directors joined the initiative. Likewise, five former governors—Alejandro García Padilla, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, Carlos Romero Barceló, Pedro Rosselló González and Sila María Calderón—religious leaders and representatives from medical institutions and the private sector also took part.

Former Govs. Alejandro García Padilla, Pedro Rosselló, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá and Sila María Calderón (Courtesy)

Former independent gubernatorial candidates Alexandra Lúgaro and Manuel Cidre, as well as independent Sen. José Vargas Vidot, are also part of the group. The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) was invited, but decided not to participate. The governor said that the members of the fiscal control board were not invited, although he is willing to have them.

Although they belong in the group, Romero Barceló and Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz were not at the meeting.

During the meeting in Old San Juan’s Antiguo Casino, the governor stressed the importance of the group having “a single voice” when petitioning Congress and the federal government, saying it is the only way they can expect to achieve results.

Rosselló explained that if Puerto Rico is not considered in federal healthcare programs, it would represent a $1.3 billion loss, which would disrupt the local healthcare system. Thus, he called for “sustainable treatment” for the island, to be included in every federal legislation on the matter, and to address the problem with the “SCHIP cliff” (State Children’s Health Insurance Program funds to be awarded in September).

“Not doing so will cause a bigger problem for the federal government and the states,” said Rosselló, referring to the health cost represented by Puerto Ricans in the diaspora.

Similarly, he stressed that if the island is not included in the federal tax reform, there would be a direct impact on the local treasury and local economy. Therefore, the message should be to “protect Puerto Rico’s competitive advantage,” emphasize that this is not a financial rescue, or bailout, but “structural reform,” and to consider temporary alternatives that are in accordance with the fiscal plan.

Regarding the Promesa Congressional Task Force’s healthcare-, energy- and tax policy-related recommendations, the governor urged Congress to approve these. “If not, it would be the federal Congress that is in violation of Promesa,” he said.

The meeting drew up a work agenda for a second meeting on Aug. 30 to determine how the three visits to the U.S. capital will be carried out next month. The visits will take place Sept. 4-8, 11-15 and 18-22.

The group would have a “recapitulation meeting” Sept. 16, ahead of the third visit, and on the 29th of that month there will be a second call to participate on the initiative.

The group will have a “recapitulation meeting” Sept. 16 ahead of its third trip, and on Sept. 29, there will be a second call to participate in the initiative.

Plenty of recommendations

During the meeting, which lasted two hours, the members of the Front for Puerto Rico made a series of recommendations, as well as a call to the fiscal control board to join in their requests before Congress.

Senate PDP leader Eduardo Bhatia recommended that journalists and the public be given access to the “data rooms” created for creditors so the fiscal numbers the government is dealing with are known. He also called for putting aside the island’s political status issue while the group lobbies for parity and giving transparency to the process.

Gov. Rosselló responded that the status issue would be kept out of the group’s discussions.
For his part, former Gov. Acevedo Vilá suggested including the grievance to the Congress and federal government that they are also responsible for the island’s economic crisis.

“Let it be clear that the crisis in Puerto Rico is a shared responsibility. The United States has a responsibility for the crisis,” Acevedo Vilá said during the meeting. “I think you [the governor] and your representative [before the board, Christian Sobrino] have to tell the board that they are going to fail if they do not get Congress to act,” he stressed. “It is sad to say it is possible that those seven [members of the fiscal board] will be listened to more than all of us in Congress.”

The PDP President Ferrer recommended that a medium- and long-term agenda, not only until Sept. 30, should be established, and asked for matters of public policy on which everyone agrees to be included.

Cidre also suggested including in the talks executives of foreign companies in Puerto Rico, which represent 33% of Treasury’s revenue and make it clear to Congress that Puerto Rico does pay federal taxes.

The president of the Puerto Rico Bar Association, Alejandro Torres, asked it be reiterated that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens who do not have the same rights as those living in the states and is  a “human rights” issue.

Although not everyone present made a statement, those who did so made themselves available to the governor to collaborate however possible with the group, with their contacts, knowledge and participation.

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Puerto Rico investment Summit otorga beca a estudiantes destacados

Por: Metro Puerto Rico

El Puerto Rico Investment Summit (PRIS), que celebra este año su quinta edición, anunció la otorgación de siete becas a estudiantes destacados en diversos campos, desde ciencias, ingeniería, finanzas, hasta el desarrollo de aplicaciones para teléfonos móviles.

Brenda González, presidenta de la conferencia de inversión de mayor trayectoria y proyección en el Caribe – el Puerto Rico Investment Summit – expresó en una comunicación escrita que “es el quinto año que llevamos a cabo el Puerto Rico Investment Summit, para destacar los beneficios de Puerto Rico de las Leyes 20, 22 (Act 20/22) y otros incentivos para negocios. Hemos seleccionado a un grupo de estudiantes destacados por sus méritos, logros y reconocimientos. Ofrecer estas becas a estudiantes sobresalientes, es reconocer nuestro talento y apoyarlo. Estos jóvenes serán nuestros futuros profesionales, empresarios e inversionistas”.

El valor de las becas asciende a un total de $10,500 que serán distribuidas entre los siete estudiantes seleccionados. La beca cubre el acceso a los dos días del evento y asistir a las conferencias. Entre los recipientes de la beca, se encuentra el joven estudiante Sergio Mattei ganador local de “Imagine Cup” que desarrolló la aplicación Taleship, que sirve para el desarrollo de historias colaborativas que integra a las personas a nivel global. La joven Rocío del Mar Avilés, ganadora del Premio Especial de Habilidad y Creatividad en la Investigación Científica, que otorga la Asociación China para la Ciencia y Tecnología. Igualmente, varios jóvenes universitarios tendrán la oportunidad de recibir la beca.

Por otro lado, González compartió que entre los conferenciantes confirmados este año para el Puerto Rico Investment Summit, se encuentra el orador y autor internacional, Johnny Wimbrey, que recientemente escogió la Isla como su destino de negocios, Luis Fortuño, ex gobernador de PR, bajo su administración se creó el conjunto de leyes que se conocen como Act 20/22; el principal oficial ejecutivo de Putnam Bridge, Nicholas Prouty y el presidente de Lufthansa Technik en Puerto Rico, Pat Foley, entre otros. El PRIS, se realizará el lunes 9 y martes 10 de octubre en el Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico desde las 8:00 de la mañana hasta las 5:00 p.m.

El Puerto Rico Investment Summit es un evento privado, organizado por Adworks Corp., una firma de comunicaciones nativa con más de veinte años de servicio en Puerto Rico.

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Presentan esfuerzo de inversión que representaría má de medio billón en compras

Por: Metro Puerto Rico

La comisionada residente, Jenniffer González Colón, junto a miembros del Concilio para el Desarrollo del Suplidor Minoritario de Puerto Rico (PRMSDC, por sus siglas en inglés), presentaron un nuevo modelo económico enfocado en las compras a suplidores minoritarios certificados, por parte de multinacionales, en áreas de desventaja económica. 

Este modelo pudiera traducirse en medio billón de dólares adicionales en compras a suplidores minoritarios certificados en Puerto Rico, $82 millones en nuevos salarios, 1,647 nuevos empleos y $15 millones en ingresos al gobierno local, sumado a un efecto multiplicador de $1.6 billones para la isla, según el estudio de viabilidad que hizo la Universidad Interamericana.

“Puerto Rico tiene que diversificar y fortalecer la oferta de productos. Con la implementación de este modelo, convertiríamos nuestra desventaja económica en una oportunidad de crecimiento que reforzaría al sector privado al impulsar la inversión a suplidores minoritarios certificados. Esto impulsaría las compras a suplidores minoritarios, aumentará empleos generados por este concepto, generaría ingresos al gobierno de $15 millones y tendría efecto multiplicador en la economía”, expresó González Colón.

La propuesta se basaría en la declaración federal de Puerto Rico como un Distressed Industrial Zones (DIZ) para, mediante incentivos, poder promover la compra corporativa a suplidores minoritarios certificados.  

Los requisitos para poder ser clasificados bajo esta zona incluyen: tener una tasa de desempleo de más de un 7%; estar administrado por un ente fiscal; tener dos años consecutivos sin crecimiento económico; o ser víctima de algún desastre natural. Bajo estos criterios, Puerto Rico cumpliría con 3 de 4 requisitos.

Bajo esta clasificación, se trataría al DIZ igual que el modelo de zona de libre comercio o FTZ, por sus siglas en inglés; el máximo en la tasa de impuesto a corporaciones sería de 4%; exención contributiva de un 85% en dividiendo pagados a dueños de corporaciones; las compañías tendrían como requisito que el 25% de sus compras sean suplidores minoritarios certificados de zonas en desventaja económicas.

Se conocería a este concepto como Supplier Diversity Economic Model (SuDEM).

El presidente de la Junta del Concilio para el Desarrollo del Suplidor Minoritario de Puerto Rico, José Ríos Nieves, explicó que Supplier Diversity Economic Model (SuDEM) es un modelo diferente porque está enfocado en el desarrollo de los suplidores, para que sean las multinacionales del futuro.

SuDEM surgió tras un minucioso proceso de análisis de la organización en conjunto con la facultad de Administración de Empresas del Recinto de Bayamón de la Universidad Interamericana, sobre las opciones para crear un dínamo que marcara la diferencia y que fuese replicable. 

“Así surgió este modelo que, con el respaldo del Congreso de los Estados Unidos, pudiese representar, medio billón adicional en compras a suplidores minoritarios certificados, $82 millones en nuevos salarios, 1,647 nuevos empleos y $15 millones en impuestos e ingresos al gobierno local. Más aún, el fortalecimiento de nuestros suplidores minoritarios produciría un efecto multiplicador de $1.6 billones para la isla”, aseguró Ríos.

“El trabajo en equipo del Concilio para el Desarrollo del Suplidor Minoritario de Puerto Rico y la Facultad de la Administración de Empresas del Recinto de Bayamón de la Universidad Interamericana, han logrado este junte. Desde septiembre del año pasado, me incorporé para trabajar junto a ellos los detalles técnicos de esta propuesta para poder radicar esta medida en el Congreso. Agradezco el respaldo y colaboración de este Clúster Económico a favor de Puerto Rico. Hoy podemos anunciar el resultado de meses de trabajo, que estamos listos a radicar una vez reanude las funciones en el Congreso. Tenemos que diversificar la economía de Puerto Rico y a su vez ser más agresivos y competitivos en la venta y suplido de productos al propio sector privado y de manufactura. Esta propuesta encamina a la isla en la dirección correcta. El modelo que presentamos hoy enlaza perfectamente a Puerto Rico como HUB de carga, tránsito y creación de rutas aéreas que promuevan la actividad económica en nuestros puertos, como almacenes y municipios”, expresó la comisionada residente.

“Hace 35 años se fundó el Concilio para el Desarrollo del Suplidor Minoritario de Puerto Rico (PRMSDC, por sus siglas en inglés), con la meta de fortalecer las comunidades, por medio de un programa de diversidad de suplidores. El Concilio, uno de los 23 en la Nación, promueve oportunidades de negocios para empresas minoritarias certificadas de todos los tamaños, que se conectan con 1,750 corporaciones en Estados Unidos y 21 empresas multinacionales establecidas en la isla, con un poder de compra de alrededor de $5 billones. De esos, les compran medio billón a suplidores minoritarios certificados.  Nuestro sistema de trabajo ha resultado exitoso, por lo que nos dispusimos a magnificar nuestros esfuerzos para lograr un impacto aún mayor, que redunde en fortalecer la economía de Puerto Rico y la de cualquiera otro de los territorios elegibles”, explicó Diego Martin director del PRMSDC.

Un suplidor se certifica como minoritario, al ser un negocio con al menos un 51% de sus dueños ciudadanos americanos asiáticos, negros, hispanos o nativos americanos. 

“Hoy me honra representar a los más de 500 suplidores minoritarios certificados en Puerto Rico. La empresa que lidero es ejemplo de la transformación que pueden lograr las empresas minoritarias, gracias al compromiso que tienen los socios corporativos del PRMSDC, quienes impulsan los programas de diversidad de suplidores”, expresó Luis David Soto, presidente de la Junta de Directores Mentor Technical Group, que también exporta servicios a las matrices de dichos socios corporativos.

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