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This Caribbean Island Is Breaking Records With Unprecedented Visitor Surge In 2024

Travelers from the mainland United States, South America and Spain are driving a massive increase in tourism revenue on the breathtaking “Island of Enchantment,” Puerto Rico. 

According to Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) managers, only in May, 1.136 million visitors passed through customs, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to the same month in 2023. 

These figures have been made possible thanks to a 15.5 percent jump in international arrivals.

This year, the island has seen 5.433 million passengers, a 10 percent increase from last year.

Part of this success is attributed to the launch of new international routes by low-cost airlines and some aggressive marketing campaigns.

Some readers may not remember the devastation inflicted on the island by Hurricane Maria in 2017, the 10th most powerful storm in the Atlantic Ocean since we have records.

In the aftermath, Puerto Rico not only suffered the consequences of this environmental tragedy but also extensive media coverage focused on the destruction alone. It created a negative impact on tourists’ perceptions of the island so hotel and flight bookings sank.

Discover Puerto Rico agency found that over a long period, 90% of media coverage was negative.

In response, the agency launched the #CoverTheProgress campaign to show the island’s recovery process and the destinations that were not affected.

The results were quite positive and the island started to see a significant increase in bookings.

Following this marketing success, Discover Puerto Rico, together with Puerto Rican tastemakers and local tourism businessmen, launched a second campaign named “Live Boricua” (Live as a Puerto Rican), which was focused on promoting Puerto Rican lifestyle and people’s rich culture. 

The main goal of this initiative was to provide visitors with an immersive experience.

“It aimed to engage visitors through storytelling, showcasing the island’s unique culture, heritage, and spirit, making it an authentic expression for promoting tourism and fostering meaningful connections between visitors and locals, highlighting Puerto Rico as a vibrant destination rich in diverse experiences and warm hospitality,” said Leah Chandler, Chief Marketing Officer of Discover Puerto Rico.

According to tourism experts, the latest campaign has played a key role in driving international and mainland tourism to the island. 

Last year, Puerto Rico broke a record number of travelers and the employment rate spiked thanks to the 6.1 million passengers who landed at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

For the very first time in history, the sector collected a staggering $9.8 billion in tourism revenue, 13% more than in the year before.

Similar to other Caribbean destinations, Puerto Rico’s tourism industry doesn’t show signs of slowing down in the next few years.

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