Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

September 2010: Still Waiting for the Takeoff

Reality and challenges for the PR tourism sector

Decade after decade, Puerto Rico has bet on its tourist industry to become a powerful growth engine of the local economy. However, time has passed and this industry is far from fulfilling such great expectations. Absolute dependence on US tourists, not much diversification, and high concentration in the San Juan metro area, among others, have strapped the PR tourist sector. While Puerto Rico remains sleepy, our neighbors in the Caribbean have achieved outstanding goals and left us with a smaller piece of the pie in the fight for foreign tourists.  This issue focuses on the local tourist sector and addresses the many challenges ahead for Puerto Rico and its competitors in the Caribbean. Does PR need more hotel rooms to compete? Is it an expensive destiny without proper service? These and other questions are relevant if the Island is to make this plane take off while competing effectively with its counterparts in the Caribbean.