Puerto Rico diversifies tourism initiatives

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Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo is the first certified marina in Puerto Rico’s Nautical Tourism program.
Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo is the first certified marina in Puerto Rico’s Nautical Tourism program.
Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

Diversifying visitor offerings is one goal of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co., spearheaded by executive director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort.

In recent months the PRTC has developed initiatives that target different sectors, including agrotourism, ecotourism, indigenous attractions and the expansion of government-run lodging options from B&Bs and posadas (small inns in a town's historical center) to paradores (rural inns) and ecosuites, sustainable extensions to the paradores' brand.

"As this diversity grows, it strengthens Puerto Rico as a tourist destination and drives the country's economy," Rocafort said.

The PRTC's newest push is a certification program for marinas in order to develop the nautical tourism sector, a sector that offers opportunities for growth among yacht, sailing and boating visitors, Rocafort said.

The first marina to be certified in the program is the Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo, 35 miles east of San Juan on the Atlantic coast.

The marina, one of the largest in Puerto Rico, accounts for close to 1,000 jobs, 90% of which involve local contractors and employees.

"Puerto Rico is home to several yacht marinas around the island, each offering a unique experience for yacht visitors," Rocafort said. "In addition to competitive port fees and berthing costs, Puerto Rico is the only island in the Caribbean with capacity to dock alongside the [Atlantic] coast."

The launch of the Nautical Tourism program will help propel this specialized industry among a certain segment of visitors, according to Rocafort.

To achieve certification, which is valid for five years, a marina must comply with a code of environmental conduct, safety and social responsibility; provide docking space for companies involved in sailing, yachting and boating activities; and offer services such as concierge assistance, bathrooms and showers, restaurants and laundry facilities.

Carolina Corral, executive director of Puerto de Rey, said the certification "confirms Puerto del Rey's commitment to uphold our mission to maintain a code of conduct and to offer service and serve as an entry point for tourists. We will continue to work hard to improve services and the experience of all who visit this marina."

As part of the program, certified marinas will participate in the PRTC's promotion and marketing programs. 

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