A bill that authorizes the creation and development of a Destination Marketing Organization (DmO), today called Discover Puerto Rico, represents the first step of acknowledgment of the importance of the development of the Visitor Economy on the Island. This new entity should serve as a critical tool to project Puerto Rico with high effectiveness in different markets across the world. Although we recognize the importance of delegating the marketing functions to an independent, strategic and innovative DmO; for Puerto Rico to be competitive, it has to manage all the other elements of the destination that goes beyond marketing. Those elements are attractions, commodities, accessibility, human resources, prices, and image. This paper aims to define and evaluate these elements of destination management, at a concept level and in the context of the particularities of Puerto Rico’s Visitor Economy. The second part of this paper describes how the destination is currently handled in Puerto Rico, examining the juridical-legal, financial, organizational, and operational structure of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC) who plays a central role in its management. Finally, different governance models are identified from around the world, and best practices for managing a destination are described.
Outlines the six elements that constitute a tourist destination
Distinguishes between destination marketing and destination management
Defines the importance of the governance and management of a tourist destination
Establishes the difference between a Destination marketing Organization (DmO) and a Destination Management Organization (DMO)
Explores the different governance models around the world and destination management best practices
Presents policy recommendations for a coherent destination management strategy in Puerto Rico