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  • The San Juan Daily Star

PR delegation expects $10 million economic impact from Madrid tourism fair

Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Executive Director Carlos Mercado Santiago

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico expects a $10 million impact in new business and benefits from the International Tourism Fair (FITUR), a leading event for incoming and outgoing markets in Ibero-America that began Wednesday in Madrid.

The fair brings together more than 250,000 tourism industry officials for five days. During the official opening of the event, Carlos Mercado Santiago, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (CTPR by its Spanish initials), along with Mariela Vallines, executive director of the Puerto Rico Convention District Authority; Víctor Moneo, director of events for Iberia-Latin America; María Jesús López Salas, commercial director of Iberia’s network and alliances; and a delegation of Puerto Rican officials and businessmen, cut the exhibitor’s ribbon.

The event marks the return of Puerto Rico with a prominent presence that seeks to maximize marketing promotion efforts for the destination, and strengthen commercial and ministerial relations with Europe and Latin America, the island delegation said.

As part of the objectives set for this year, the CTPR, together with Discover Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican business delegation, have more than 200 confirmed appointments on their agenda to explore new business opportunities within the tourism industry, create new contacts, promote new developments and routes, finalize agreements and attract more visitors.

At the same time, the CTPR executive director and other officials will be actively engaging with industry leaders in meetings and presentations where knowledge and market trends are discussed and exchanged at a global level.

“Our main objective at FITUR this year is focused on betting on and promoting Puerto Rico as a first-class and safe destination for vacationing and doing business, which also stands out for its advanced health and safety protocols to combat COVID-19,” Mercado Santiago said.

“Meanwhile, our ministerial agenda includes participation in meetings and forums that will make it easier for us to expand and strengthen our trade relations with Latin America and Europe,” he said.

The tourism executive this week received the Medal of Merit for the Internationalization of Tourism in Ibero-America, during the 25th Ibero-American Conference of Tourism Ministers and Entrepreneurs.

The Puerto Rico display honors the celebration of 500 years of the city of San Juan. It has different designated areas to carry out commercial and ministerial meetings, as well as group presentations. In it, the CTPR’s agrotourism and sustainable tourism programs, hotel developments, attractions and tourist and cultural experiences will be showcased, and meeting tourism will be promoted. In addition, attractions are to be highlighted, such as the largest and most technologically advanced Convention Center in the Caribbean and the new entertainment center, the T-Mobile District, which has concert halls, restaurants, hotels, urban “ziplines” and the most modern Caribbean movie theaters.

Mercado Santiago noted that, during the event, the Puerto Rican delegation will also participate in a forum led by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The CTPR has announced that, according to its preliminary projections, the economic impact — related to air travel negotiations, commercial activities and the production of international events in Puerto Rico that take place at FITUR 2022 — exceeds $10 million. This does not include the added value of the efforts made in parallel by Discover Puerto Rico to maximize projection and promotion abroad, as well as international media coverage.

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