Puerto Rico Game Changer

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Puerto Rico Convention Center Game Changer About 200 travel professionals gathered last night 30 stories up at The Skylark, a special event venue in the heart of New York City’s Times Square, to meet partners from Puerto Rico and get an update on the island and one of the most talked-about projects was El Distrito, set to transform the Puerto Rico Convention Center district.

“El Distrito is definitely a game-changer,” says Ed Carey, chief sales officer, Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization. “We anticipate it will do for Puerto Rico what L.A. Live did for L.A.”

This five-acre hospitality and entertainment complex officially opens in April right next to the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

Brad Dean, CEO, Discover Puerto Rico, shared his enthusiasm for the soon-to-open district. “This will be the entertainment epicenter in the Caribbean. It will be an attractive option for meeting planners,” says Dean.

El Distrito consists of a 50,000-sq.-ft. central plaza that is futuristic in design and features a digital scenery system composed of more than 14,000 sq. ft. of LED screens, including one of the largest horizontal screens in the U.S. Unique content will be displayed, including spatial content, digital art, nightly digital fireworks, interactive content, social media feeds, and sports broadcasting events.

Three main anchors are the 177-room Aloft San Juan that swung open its doors on Feb. 1; the Caribbean Cinemas VIP “A Premium Experience,” featuring eight premium state-of-the-art cinemas; and the Coca Cola Music Hall, a mixed-use performance venue with space for more than six thousand people, including a 900-guest VIP section, and two outdoor bars, with a stage for performances.

Other features include the first permanent augmented reality zip line experience in the world that crosses above the plaza. The District Studios is a radio and TV production studio overlooking the plaza and stage. A variety of bars, restaurants, and lounges will round out the offerings with everything from casual eateries to gourmet dining.

It was also stressed during the event that the island is open for business and is ready and eager to welcome groups. Dean reported that the island had record-breaking tourism numbers last year and expects to sustain the momentum into 2020 despite the earthquakes that hit the island at the beginning of the year. “There have been many unexpected challenges, but Puerto Rico is resilient and should earn a Ph.D. in resiliency,” says Dean.

During the event, Discover Puerto Rico’s new brand campaign, “Have We Met Yet?” was featured. It focuses on the hospitality of the Puerto Rican people, the cuisine, festive spirit, and abundant natural attractions.

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