Rebuilding our communities from the Bottom Up
Since its inception, Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR) has proposed a Visitor Economy strategy for Puerto Rico. After hurricanes Irma and Maria, this approach is more relevant than ever as many on the Island continue to migrate to the U.S. mainland resulting in a smaller tax base and diminishing demand for products and services. This has particularly affected many small towns in Puerto Rico, where local business owners rely heavily on community residents to sell their products and services. As a result, these communities need a different, innovative and inclusive plan to bring in visitors in order to create new economic opportunities.
Precisely, the Bottom Up Destination Recovery Initiative is an economic recovery strategy with a sustainable model, supporting communities to become more resilient and active resources in the creation of tourism attractions and experiences. This community-based recovery program aims to strengthen local communities to spur their own recovery and build the infrastructure required for growth. The goal is to help communities recover quicker by creating a Community Destination Economic Development Plan to help increase the local tourism offers and foster the extension of the average length of stay. As a result, economic development in the communities is improved through better commercial operations, new businesses, job creation, workforce development and a growing tax base. This project is self-sustainable, where the community and local government learn to maintain and further develop the program once the phases of resource identification, general guidelines, co-design, execution and evaluation by FPR are completed.