Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Puerto Rico puts out the welcome mat for tourists

San Juan, Aug 22 (EFE).- Puerto Rico announced Wednesday that it is ready to receive tourists to boost the island’s economic recovery, as it prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria and the devastation it caused.

Jean Paul Polo, director of multimedia production at Discover Puerto Rico, which is part of the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), told EFE that the island has launched a campaign to advertise its tourist attractions to an international audience.

Combo de fotografías sin fechar cedidas por Discover Puerto Rico que muestra, a la izquierda, el mensaje que los vecinos de Punta Santiago, una barriada playera de Humacao, municipio de la costa este de Puerto Rico, lanzaron para sobrevivir después del paso del huracán, cuando escribieron en un cruce de caminos las palabras “SOS necesitamos agua/comida” con el objetivo de que fuera visible desde el aire. A la derecha, en el mismo cruce de caminos, se muestra actualmente un mensaje que dice “Bienvenidos. Covertheprogress -cubre el progreso-“, como reclamo para que los medios de comunicación locales e internacionales divulguen la recuperación de la isla tras el huracán María. Puerto Rico lanza al mundo, a pocas semanas de que se cumpla el año de la devastación provocada por el huracán María, el mensaje de que está listo para recibir a turistas que ayuden a la recuperación de su economía. EFE

The campaign recalls a message written in the middle of a street intersection by residents of Punta Santiago, on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, asking for help after the hurricane hit.

The message, which read “SOS, we need water/food,” was seen from the air by a rescue team, and supplies were soon taken to the town.

In the campaign, the message asking for help written in the street intersection is replaced by a new one: “Welcome, #Cover the progress,” as a plea to local and international media outlets to cover Puerto Rico’s recovery.

The touching story of the island’s devastation and slow recovery is told in Discover Puerto Rico’s video “A Puerto Rican Community Comes Back One Year After Hurricane Maria.”

The video includes interviews with residents of Punta Santiago who recall how the message they wrote saved their lives and how the town came back to life, while noting that they are now eager to receive new tourists.

The campaign was launched after it was revealed that, six months after Hurricane Maria struck, 50 percent of surveyed tourists said that negative news coverage about the devastation caused by the hurricane had negatively affected their perception of Puerto Rico as a tourist destination.

“Tourism is crucial for Puerto Rico and that is why we launched the campaign,” Polo said, adding that he conceived the campaign after visiting Punta Santiago, meeting with the town’s residents and hearing their accounts of the hurricane’s aftermath.