Puerto Rico Economic Sector Profiles
Planning a Meeting or Convention in Puerto Rico
A unique combination of world-class properties, sophisticated infrastructure, U.S. ties, exotic Caribbean setting, and a new Convention Center makes Puerto Rico an outstanding destination for meetings and incentive groups, trade shows and exhibitions.
With meetings and conventions comprising nearly one-third of the Island's tourism revenue, Puerto Rico's hospitality and meeting industry takes group business seriously. In recent years, hotel construction and property renovations have taken place across the island. Puerto Rico offers over 14,000 rooms island-wide — ranging from economy to mid-scale to first-class and luxury — to fit any group size or budget.
"The opening of the new Puerto Rico Convention Center coupled with major expansion projects of the meeting facilities at top hotels and resorts, as well as plans for new properties to come on line that are able to serve the convention market is a testament to the significant role that meetings play in the Island's overall tourism economy," stated Ana María Viscasillas, president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.
Redefining Puerto Rico's tourism landscape, the new Puerto Rico Convention Center, which opened in November 2005, is the centerpiece of one of the largest waterfront development projects of its kind in the U.S. The largest facility of its kind in the Caribbean, and the most technologically-advanced convention center in the Caribbean and Latin America, the Center offers 580,000 gross square feet/53,882 gross square meters of exhibition and meeting space, including the largest ballroom in the Caribbean.
The new Puerto Rico Convention Center is part of a district-sized, multi-use masterplan comprised of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues with cinemas, and additional retail and residential areas. Recent development milestones within the 113-acre area include the completion of the Paseo de las Fuentes, the urban park and fountains surrounding the district, and groundbreaking on the 500-room headquarter Sheraton hotel, located adjacent to the Convention Center. The "urban resort" property, which will include 60,000 sq. ft. of meeting space along with a casino, spa, fitness center and commercial space for restaurants, shops and other entertainment, is projected to open in 2009.
Puerto Rico, the Ideal Destination
By utilizing the services of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, meeting planners and others who wish to coordinate a large group program on the Island can take advantage of the Bureau's "one-stop shopping" approach when planning a group meeting, conference or other group gathering on the Island, which assists those planning meetings and group gatherings at no charge.
To help with the planning, promoting and management of a conference or other event, the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau acts as a liaison between a group and over 500 member-suppliers ranging from hotels to audio-visual service providers to caterers to destination management companies, all are fully committed to serving the group market. The Bureau will work with planners to assist in gathering hotel proposals, securing accommodations, and escorting planners during site inspections to properties that meet the specific needs of the group.
In addition, the Bureau can assist with arranging a welcome or invitation letter from the Governor of Puerto Rico; engaging government officials as speakers; aiding with protocol-related programs; providing promotional items; coordinating special events; planning pre- and post-meeting events as well as evening activities and other entertainment.
The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau has offices in San Juan, Chicago, Miami, New York, and Washington, D.C. It can be reached easily at its offices in San Juan (787-725-2110), or call toll-free in the United States (1-800-875-4765). The Bureau's award-winning web site serves as the definitive resource for individuals seeking out information about hosting a group program in Puerto Rico. The site, www.meetpuertorico.com, features key elements to assist in the site selection, planning and implementation process of a group program on the Island. The Bureau can also be reached through the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOP TEN REASONS TO BOOK PUERTO RICO FOR YOUR NEXT MEETING
Puerto Rico Convention Center
The new Puerto Rico Convention Center creates a singular destination for conventions, trade shows, consumer shows and congresses, and places Puerto Rico at the forefront of meeting and exhibition destinations. Not only is the meeting and convention facility state-of-the-art — in terms of its size and the services it provides, but also in its dynamic architecture and design, which includes a dramatic wave-like roof line and a 13-story glass curtain opening up to spectacular views of the San Juan harbor and area beaches.
The $415 million project is the core component within a new 113-acre "lifestyle" urban development project strategically located between the Condado hotel district and the historic city of Old San Juan. This area, traditionally known as Isla Grande, actually was an island in the bay centuries ago, although it is now attached to San Juan proper. A former U.S. Naval and Coast Guard base was located here, and it is a favorite haunt for parakeets and other exotic birds. Isla Grande is now also known as the Puerto Rico Convention Center District, considered one of the largest and most ambitious waterfront development projects in the history of the U.S. and its territories. Conceived as a vibtrant urban gathering place, the District, once complete in 2012, will enable visitors to experience the distinctiveness of Puerto Rico in what will become one of the Island's most sought-after spots for business, shopping, recreation and entertainment to include hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other amenities. Isla Grande is minutes away from historic Old San Juan, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, and the Condado tourist area.
The Convention Center incorporates the quality, standards, and materials expected from a full-service world-class convention facility. Its size compares favorably with the largest facilities in the hemisphere. There are almost 580,000 square feet /53,882 square meters of overall gross space, including 152,700 square feet/ 14,186 square meters of exhibition hall; 39,000 square feet/ 3,670 square meters of ballroom, the largest in the Caribbean; an additional 36,200 square feet/ 3,363 square meters of meeting rooms; and some 200,000 square feet/ 18,580 square meters of pre-function areas and support space. Two-phase expansions are planned for the Convention Center, enabling an increase of up to 450,000 gross square feet/ 41,805 square meters of contiguous exhibition halls, with a total of 180,000 square feet/ 16,722 square meters of meeting and ballroom space.
In addition to the Center, construction has already begun on a $2009 million headquarter hotel to serve the needs of conventioneers and other visitors. The planned 500-room hotel, which will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts under the Sheraton banner will open in 209 and is planned as a contemporary "urban resort". The design calls for a large, open lobby casino and entertainment complex with music hall for live performances as well as two ballrooms, banquet and meeting rooms, a full-service spa, restaurants, shops and parking space. The property will also feature a rooftop pool with cabanas, tropical gardens and views of Old San Juan and the harbor. Described as a "beach without sand", the area is designed to bring the Caribbean into the Convention Center District for conventioneers.
Since its opening in 2005, the new Convention Center has been host to renowned meetings and conventions at the new facility. The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau, a non-profit organization working to promote and develop group and convention business to the island for over 40 years, is the sales and marketing agent for the Center. If you are interested in this innovative project and/or would like to consider the Puerto Rico Convention Center for your next event, you can get more information from the Bureau by calling toll-free at 1-800-875-4765 or visiting online at www.meetpuertorico.com / www.prconventioncenter.com
provided by the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau