Skift Take

The State Department's passport processing sluggishness amid the American international tourism boom is an opportunity for Puerto Rico's destination marketing organization.

Puerto Rico is launching a new marketing campaign aimed at travelers who were forced to delay or cancel trips because they couldn’t get their passport in time.

“No Passport, No Problem” will launch next month and remind Americans that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory – no passport required.

“About a third of Americans didn’t know that Puerto Rico doesn’t require a passport,” said Leah Chandler, chief marketing officer for Discover Puerto Rico. 

The campaign comes as the number of Americans traveling aboard surges. Over 46 million Americans traveled abroad in the first six months of 2023, up 32% from the same period in 2022, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.

But the wait time to get a U.S. passport is between 10 and 13 weeks, an example of the federal government “failing” American travelers, said U.S. Travel CEO and President Geoff Freeman at Skift Global Forum.

No Passport, No Problem will include a landing page displaying “must-knows” of travel to Puerto Rico and curated itineraries for different types of travelers, marketing on social media and partnerships with content creators and airlines, one of which is Frontier Airlines. The campaign will be all earned media. 

Discover Puerto will also give away a few free trips. Travelers can win by sharing their stories online with the hashtag #passportdelay. “Later this fall we’re actually going to seek out people who have missed a vacation due to not getting their passport in time and we’re going to reward them with a trip to Puerto Rico,” said Chandler.

Last year, Puerto Rico’s travel and tourism sector generated $8.9 billion in revenue, up 39% from 2019.

There have been several high-profile incidents showing how many Americans are unaware Puerto Rico is part of the mainland, said Chandler. One viral incident had a Puerto Rican man being denied a prepaid reservation by Hertz on the U.S. mainland after employees said his driver’s license wasn’t valid.

Puerto Rico’s government plans to add “Puerto Rico USA” to its driver licenses to prevent future incidents.


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Tags: discover puerto rico, puerto rico, tourism

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