Daily Podcast: Post-Pandemic Puerto Rican Promise

Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, June 21 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Tom Lowry

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Puerto Rico’s tourism momentum, Fourth of July “nearcations,” and meetings and events challenges in eastern Europe.

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Episode Notes

Puerto Rico has seen an enormous tourism boom since the island eased travel restrictions last year, but the US territory faces long-term hurdles that could halt that surge, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.

Puerto Rico saw figures such as airport arrivals, non-resident visitor spending and hotel revenue per available room in 2021 surpass pre-pandemic metrics. In addition, the island’s average daily hotel rates during the first four months of 2022 rose 35 percent from the same timeframe last year.

But Schaal writes Puerto Rico needs to overcome pre-pandemic challenges to continue its tourism surge. The island has experienced a tumultuous last half-dozen years, including repeated blackouts following Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 and a series of January 2020 earthquakes that destroyed its already fragile infrastructure.

Next, more than half of American adults are planning to travel for this year’s Fourth of July weekend, but a large number of them are looking at trips closer to home, writes Contributor Mary Ann Ha.

A survey by travel industry website The Vacationer found 55 percent of US consumers have travel plans for the holiday. That’s an eight percentage point jump from last year’s Fourth of July. About 52 percent of Americans planning to travel over the holiday weekend intend to go on road trips, and roughly half of that figure will do so within 100 miles of their homes. Fifty percent of Americans also said rising gas prices would affect their Fourth of July travel plans, which is a four percentage point drop from this past Memorial Day weekend.

Eric Jones, co-founder of the Vacationer, said popular local activities during the Fourth of July weekend, such as fireworks shows, are a major reason more travelers are opting to take trips closer to home.

We wrap up today looking at how the war in Ukraine is complicating event planning. Contributor Paul Cook reports that industry executives must address important issues when planning events in neighboring countries, such as Poland.

Although Europe is a popular conference destination for many US organizations, Cook writes that event planners need to examine what risks a country bordering Ukraine poses for delegates. While event industry executives are eager to assist their colleagues in the war-torn country, he believes event planners should prioritize taking care of delegates who expect a safe and secure experience.

So event professionals, in Cook’s view, need to communicate with officials in destinations they’re considering to get a clear picture of any possible safety concerns. Cook cited Poland as a country Americans might mistakenly believe the war has spread to because of its proximity to Ukraine. But Poland has recently emerged as a major events destination, having hosted the 2022 UFI European Conference last month.

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