Discover Puerto Rico, the island's newly launched convention and visitors bureau, is giving planners another reason to bring their events back to the island, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria last fall. The DMO is offering a flexible attrition program, available through many supplier partners. Announced by the CVB's CEO Brad Dean during IMEX America, the program allows for room cancellations of up to 20 percent, up to seven days before an event takes place in Puerto Rico. Meetings must be booked by March 2019 and take place before Dec. 31, 2020. As an added bonus, groups who book by the end of 2018 will get a 2 percent rebate on their master hotel account.
During the press conference, Dean pointed out how the destination is "ready, able and eager to welcome groups backs." Puerto Rico is now seeing an average of 110 daily flights via 28 airlines and expects service to return to pre-hurricane levels by the end of this year. The Puerto Rico Convention Center was up and running by January, along with lots of development nearby. Opening in late 2019 across from the center is District Live!, a five-acre entertainment district with large-scale event venues.
In an interview with M&C last month, Dean acknowledged that meeting and incentive business is 70 percent below prestorm numbers. The greatest challenge, he said, is "battling outdated perceptions."