by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 05, 2019

In an enormous win for a destination that has had its share of challenges lately, Puerto Rico has been chosen to host the World Travel and Tourism Council's 2020 Global Summit. The announcement was made by Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and CEO of the WTTC, and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares at the closing ceremonies of the group's 2019 Global Summit in Seville, Spain.

Being chosen to host a WTTC global summit is akin to winning an Oscar for Best Picture. The gathering is prestigious enough that this year, former President Barak Obama was one of the featured keynote speakers. Indeed, the WTTC is widely regarded as the most important event in the global travel and tourism industry, one of the leading sectors stimulating economic growth and employment worldwide. The WTTC reports that In 2018, global travel and tourism grew by 3.9 percent to contribute a record US$8.8 trillion and 319 million jobs to the world economy. 

"We are delighted to bring next year's Global Summit to the beautiful tropical Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a welcoming and diverse destination, which not only offers visitors glorious beaches, it is also home to the only tropical rainforest in the U.S.," said Guevara Manzo. "Our annual Global Summit brings together the most influential figures from the public and private sector to address the challenges and opportunities facing the travel and tourism industry, and is the most important event in the calendar each year. Hosting the Global Summit in Puerto Rico reflects the commitment and efforts of the government and tourist board to grow both business and leisure travel."

For his part, Gov. Nevares noted, "Travel and tourism is instrumental in Puerto Rico's economic development plans, and has proven to be the most resilient sector in our economy. More so, we believe that sound public policy that effectively attends to private-sector needs can be a catalyst for change. Events like the WTTC Global Summit not only give us an opportunity to showcase the diversity of our destination's tourism offering, but also facilitate spaces for the public and private sectors to define the future of travel and tourism together."

The chance to play host to a summit of such magnitude will put Puerto Rico squarely in the global spotlight and help confirm that it has rebounded from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, which struck in September 2017, left much of the island's hotel product damaged and took close to 18 months to recover from.

"Every destination has a moment in time to claim its place in the global travel and tourism scene," said Carla Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. "Puerto Rico is on the cusp of becoming a next-generation tourism destination, and the WTTC Global Summit is the ideal stage to unveil how the public and private sectors are working together to make it happen. Tourism is a force for good and an ideal vehicle to improve people's quality of lives. We share that vision with WTTC members and are honored to have the opportunity to host travel and tourism leaders from around the world next year." 

Puerto Rico has recently enacted a joint management and marketing structure between the government-operated PRTC and Discover Puerto Rico, the island's newly created and independent destination marketing organization. According to Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, "We're honored to have been chosen as host destination for the upcoming World Travel and Tourism Council 2020 Global Summit. Puerto Rico is a place where rich culture and natural wonders lay the foundation for an immense bounty of one-of-a-kind experiences. We look forward to welcoming the global tourism industry next year to discover all that Puerto Rico offers."