Puerto Rico’s geography helps drive visitor growth more than any tourism campaign. But its latest campaign still does a good job of promoting the island's culture.
Puerto Rico has seen tourism boom coming out of the pandemic, and the island’s authorities believe it’s poised for another surge in visitor numbers — thanks to a new marketing campaign showcasing its culture.
Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization, recently launched the second part of its Live Boricua campaign, which includes videos featuring local artisans and designers. They create products in Puerto Rico Sunshine, a color the organization developed with consulting service Pantone Color Institute.
The new marketing effort is a shift from the first part of the campaign, which focused heavily on traveler experiences on the island.
“Our latest campaign was built out of seeing this change in people wanting to have more connection to the places they were visiting besides the usual ‘fly and flop’ vacation,” said Discover Puerto Rico’s Chief Marketing Officer Leah Chandler.
During its first market research in 2018, Discover Puerto Rico found the island’s image was largely a blank slate. Potential visitors didn’t have a positive or negative view of Puerto Rico — they just didn’t consider it an option.
“I always say to my team that beaches in the Caribbean are like casinos in Vegas. Everybody has them and visitors already know about that,” Chandler said.
“The question was how we could elevate the destination in an authentic way that would generate interest in visitation and likelihood to travel. The answer was overwhelmingly culture, so we started a conversation about repositioning the brand and rooting it in culture back in 2018,” said Chandler, who joined Discover Puerto Rico in May of that year.
Discover Puerto Rico is among the growing number of tourism boards seeking input from local residents. The organization conducts quarterly research to gather opinions on its marketing efforts and how the island is portrayed to prospective visitors.
“For us, it’s been a very intentional process to get here and ensure that there wouldn’t be a big backlash when the campaign launched,” Chandler said.
Regarding modifications Discover Puerto Rico made in the Live Boricua campaign, Chandler said the first part was geared toward travelers in new markets it’s targeting while the second focused on the island’s established markets. She added she’s seen the importance of highlighting local culture and storytelling to prospective visitors.
“What we started to see coming out of the pandemic was people looking for more meaningful experiences when they travel, to feel connected to the people they’re traveling with and who live in the destination that they’re visiting,” Chandler said.
UPDATE: The article has been updated to say the Live Boricua campaign includes videos of artisans and designers who create products in Puerto Rico Sunshine.
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Photo credit: An image from Puerto Rico's ongoing marketing campaign, Live Boricua. Discover Puerto Rico