The 6 pillars of the new infrastructure and the visitor economy as a reconstruction model.

Foundation for Puerto Rico presents a strategic initiative that leverages the Visitor Economy with the island's recovery efforts. Commissioned to the local firm Estudios Técnicos, the paper discusses key infrastructure elements and an innovative model of reconstruction and economic development for Puerto Rico.

As part of the investigation, the consulting firm proposed a new conceptual model that is based on six elements of the impact of tourism: physical, social, institutional, cultural, knowledge, and environmental infrastructure.

"These six elements suggest that in order to create an economic development strategy based on the Visitor Economy, we need to incorporate a wide range of components beyond those that are typically required to sustain tourism.This strategy requires changes in each of the infrastructures referred, to focus on two things: to strengthen the initiatives related to the visitor; and secondly, facilitate linkages with other economic entities, social and cultural rights", explained Joaquin Villamil, Chief Executive Officer of Estudios Técnicos.

For her part, Annie Mayol, President and COO of FPR, emphasized that the organization has always stood out for its research and innovation, seeking to integrate the world’s best practices into local realities and needs. "After Maria, our team has been working on a program called Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative, which aims to advance Puerto Rico's recovery efforts using the Visitor Economy as a key strategy to create economic opportunities and make the island a resilient destination."

Meanwhile, Arnaldo Cruz, FPR's director of Research and Analysis, explained that the organization has been working for several months in a pilot program implemented in Orocovis, Isabela/Aguadilla and Punta Santiago in Humacao. "The idea of this program is that as a community develops, so does the municipality and the region where the community is located and, in the end, the country. But, for this to happen, communities need to meet their basic needs and have the necessary infrastructure; a common and strategic plan that integrates community resources; small businesses have to be successful and expand; and they must have the ability to take control of solutions,” highlighted Cruz.

Currently, the tourism industry as it's traditionally known has an impact of $7.1 billion on the Puerto Rican economy.