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PRHTA Prods Government To Stimulate Sluggish Summer Business

Hoteliers asking Tourism Co. for more funds to promote new website linked to travel agencies, major wholesalers


May 31, 2001
Copyright © 2001 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) met with Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Executive Director Jorge Pesquera to discuss how to help stimulate summer business in Puerto Rico.

Pesquera, who is also a member of the PRHTA’s Board, has recently funded, along with cooperative advertising between the hotels and major travel wholesalers, the island’s technology-driven summer marketing campaign called

Meanwhile, the hoteliers are asking the Tourism Co. to provide more funds to advertise the new website, that allows potential visitors to book their stays directly with the hotels through links with travel agencies affiliated with major wholesalers.

If the Tourism Co. plans to invest more funds to advertise this summer, it would have to make an immediate decision, because the peak summer months are June through August., which will run until Oct. 31, is expected to feature cable television spots as well as print ads, in Puerto Rico and on the U.S. mainland.

Another recommendation by the PRHTA is to change the way the island’s co-op advertising is handled with travel wholesalers and airlines that sell Puerto Rico in the States, as first reported by CARIBBEAN BUSINESS on March 15.

Reinhard Werthner, president of the PRHTA, said the association has asked that the Tourism Co. design a formula that would give each wholesaler advertising dollars according to how many room nights the wholesaler produced for Puerto Rico the previous year.

Traditionally, the wholesalers tell the Tourism Co. how much money they need for their co-op advertising campaign, which amounts to promotional efforts split equally with the government, airlines, and travel wholesalers.

Unfortunately for Puerto Rico, the money allocated for the wholesalers, in most cases, was more than the wholesalers produced in room nights.

"By changing the formula, there would be some savings that the Tourism Co. could put into advertising," Werthner said.

Puerto Rico, just like many tourism destinations in the Caribbean and the U.S., will need all the advertising help it can get on account of rising vacation costs and a slower national and international economy that is resulting in less business travel.

According to AAA, the largest motoring and leisure travel organization in the U.S., travelers will need to budget 5% more for vacations this year, the highest one-year increase in three years.

AAA’s annual vacation survey shows that a family of two adults and two children can expect to pay an average of $223 per day for food and lodging. Lodging rates on the U.S. mainland will average $113 a night, up $5 from last year. Meals will cost $110, also up $5.

In the last 10 years, the average cost of meals and lodging has increased by 24%. That figure is modest compared with previous decades.

This summer, Puerto Rico’s major hotels are offering special summer rates to attract more visitors. Room rates are definitely lower than those posted during the winter high tourism season, but they still range from $120 to $180 per night for two adults.

On the other hand, Puerto Rico’s paradores, also known as country inns, are expecting to post high occupancy rates this summer, regardless of whether the locals stay on the island or travel abroad.

The months of June and July are the best for paradores, which register occupancy percentage rates in the high 90s, compared to the average annual occupancy rate of 52%.

Summer is the peak vacation time for local tourists. The demand is so high during the months of June and July that most of the island’s paradores are obliged to turn down requests for reservations.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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