Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR), through our Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative program, unveiled the community destination plans for the regions of Aguadilla and Isabela, Cabo Rojo and San Germán, during the virtual conference, “Puerto Rico as a Destination: Community, Planning and Tourism,” which was held on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
The event featured dozens of speakers and panelists from various industry who came together to discuss the importance of the visitor economy, resilient communities and the third sector for the economic development of Puerto Rico; global trends and tourism on the island; tourism assets as drivers of economic development in the communities; and the impact of digital presence in local tourism.
Also, the conference was the setting for the publication of the first community destination plans for the western region, which were co-designed between FPR’s Bottom Up program team and the communities. These plans provide a series of strategic entry points for investment and policy setting aimed at improving each region’s unique assets. The assessments and analyses outlined in each document depart from traditional planning processes by focusing on a combination of community interventions that reflect an assessment of areas of opportunity, the consensus of local leaders on the destination’s development vision, and an emphasis on multi-sectoral collaborations.
The panelists ranged from a large group of experts in tourism and planning to community leaders and entrepreneurs, including Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico; Rodrick Miller, CEO of Invest Puerto Rico; Miguel Santiago Irizarry, regional director of the Porta del Sol region of the Tourism Company; Mayris Ruiz, president of the Llanos Tuna Community Association; Javier Hernandez, founder of Inversión Cultural; Ronald Castro, marketing professor at the Tisch Center for Hospitality at New York University; Tony Linares, owner of the A 2 Tiempos Inn; Jorge Jorge, president of Toro Verde; Padre Aquino, president and founder of Casa Juan Pablo; and Alan Taveras, chief marketing officer of Brands Of, among others.