Local Puerto Rico hotels report strong bookings for LGBT Pride events despite Zika hype
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – The Puerto Rican Tourism Company (PRTC) is currently reporting a 100% occupancy rate for local hotel partners in Boqueron, Puerto Rico – and the surrounding areas on the west coast – with no reported cancellations, as travelers flock to Puerto Rico in celebration of LGBT Pride weekend. Dozens of hotels in the west region are currently booked to capacity in the area where key Pride activities are taking place from June 9-12, 2016, even with heightened Zika awareness.
“Once folks understand the real facts about Zika and take the recommended precautions, they are able to enjoy a worry-free experience in Puerto Rico,” said Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director of the PRTC. “Our strong bookings for Pride activities underscore that our concerted effort to educate the public regarding the misperceptions about Zika in Puerto Rico is working.”
As a popular LGBT travel destination in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico will host several local parades and events in Boqueron and surrounding areas, as well as the 26th Annual Puerto Rican LGBTTIQ Pride activates in San Juan, where hundreds of members of the LGBT community are slated to walk. This is an especially important year as it marks the first anniversary of Marriage Equality in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
“Puerto Rico is the most LGBT-friendly destination in the Caribbean,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, human rights activist, longtime LGBT leader and founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s. “Our Pride parades are the best attended, with more than 40,000 filling up the streets of Boqueron for a prideful weekend from June 10-12 and with more than 10,000 marching in San Juan on June 26. With all the advancements toward LGBT equality, this is the time to visit Puerto Rico.”
“Demand for Puerto Rico is high,” added Clarisa Jimenez, President and CEO of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA). “Once travelers are presented with the facts, they are better able to decipher the myths from the realities about Zika on the island and as a result are making sound decisions about traveling to the Jewel of the Caribbean. We open our arms to the LGBT community.”
PRTC continues to work closely with local hotel partners to provide education about mosquito population control and preventive tips for visitors. Through the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, hotel partners are actively training their staff, arming them with tools and tips to properly educate guests on ways to protect themselves against the Zika virus and urging them to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines before, during, and after their trip.
“The staff of the Parador Combate Beach Resort welcomes the LGBT community every year during Pride month,” added president of the Association of Paradores’ Owners and co-owner of Combate Beach, Tomas Ramirez, “and this year is no different. We ensure our guests are provided with all the tools necessary to have a truly worry-free LGBT Pride experience.”