R. Merritt

Puerto Rico’s tourism industry is among the most prominent sectors of the island’s economy–almost $8.9 billion was generated in 2022 alone from travel and tourism and the island has more than 91,500 individuals employed in tourism-related jobs in the same year. These are all record highs (PR Newswire). Making up half of all tourists that visit the island, stateside Puerto Ricans visit the island as tourists often to reconnect with their ancestral ties or to spend time with family (El Nuevo Dia, 1). What is unique with the Puerto Rican diaspora in the contiguous United States is that it is almost double the size of Puerto Rico’s population–3,221,789 living on the island compared to 5,905,178 stateside (US Census Bureau). This highlights how there is an immense amount of potential to boost Puerto Rico’s economy by promoting tourism to those who already have a connection to the island. It is with this that the company GFR Media is pushing for the tourism initiative Junte Boricua (El Nuevo Dia, 1).

Junte Boricua is a heritage tourism campaign that has been marketing itself to the stateside Puerto Rican community by promoting the event in cities across the U.S. with large Puerto Rican populations. Some cities include Orlando, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Dallas, and others (El Nuevo Dia, 1). These are all cities with observable Puerto Rican communities and will make marketing the event effective. There will be a strong emphasis on community engagement and there will be events promoted in all of the island’s municipalities to ensure that tourists visiting move throughout Puerto Rico (El Nuevo Dia, 1). Expectations are high and the economic effects are projected to pay off as all municipalities will be mobilized into accommodating tourists. The goal with the initiative is to attract more than 50,000 stateside Puerto Ricans over the summer to visit the island (El Nuevo Dia, 1). Additionally, across both the stateside community and Puerto Rico, the initiative has the potential to reach 7.5 million people (El Nuevo Dia, 1). Among the most anticipated events to occur during Junte Boricua is what is being branded as the “first Puerto Rican Day Parade on the island”, La Campechada, as Puerto Rican Day Parades are usually held by communities in cities outside of the island (El Nuevo Dia, 1).

It is critical to note how Junte Boricua is expected to boost economic engagement too. $75 million is expected to be made over the four months in which the initiative takes place, with that investment expected to triple after five years’ time (El Nuevo Dia, 3). All primary ports of entry are being revitalized to support the arrival of these tourists–even beyond the primary airport in San Juan. Aguadilla and Ponce have both seen investments in their transportation to accommodate the initiative (El Nuevo Dia, 3). To further boost the economic impact and better connect with stateside communities, eleven “leading ambassadors” have been selected to promote Junte Boricua. These leading ambassadors are professionals from within the Puerto Rican community living stateside that then select fifty other ambassadors from within their respective communities to further promote it and increase engagement (El Nuevo Dia, 1). It is clear that a strong network is being constructed to ensure that Junte Boricua lives up to its vast potential to invigorate and reconnect all Puerto Ricans from the island and beyond.

The dynamic nature of the initiative is part of what makes it even more unique–there have been continued efforts to market Junte Boricua to Puerto Ricans who have either not visited the island in decades or to those who have never been in their lives (El Nuevo Dia, 2). With the ambassador program, the initiative has been able to build a network that is far-reaching across the continental US. How has Junte Boricua gone beyond just this network of professionals to go even deeper? There was a stated goal by the executive officer of GFR Media to have 45 corporations sponsoring the initiative and 45 nonprofits that the company will support during the initiative. Among those who have already joined the initiative are Ser de Puerto Rico, Eco Exploratorio, Comprometidos, among others. (El Nuevo Dia, 2). There have been several events nationwide that have partnered with Junte Boricua to further boost local awareness–Orlando’s SanSe festival was a prominent local partner event in Central Florida that took place back in January of this year. With these partnerships, fundraisers can be held during Junte Boricua, which helps even further with bringing together the stateside and island communities to better inform those visiting (El Nuevo Dia, 2). What’s more, the Center for a New Economy, a Puerto Rican think tank and advocacy group that works towards economic revitalization on the island, intends on analyzing the economic effects of Junte Boricua alongside academic groups to contribute towards their goals (El Nuevo Dia, 2).

If you want to be involved with Junte Boricua directly, there are an array of ways in which you can stay up to date on local events that are being held stateside to promote the event. Additionally, their website lists all the events that are being held in each municipality. This can all be accessed through Junte Boricua’s website: https://www.elnuevodia.com/junteboricua/.


El Nuevo Dia, 1: https://www.elnuevodia.com/negocios/turismo/notas/se-acerca-el-junte-boricua/

El Nuevo Dia, 2: https://www.elnuevodia.com/negocios/turismo/notas/puerto-rico-te-llama-crece-el-entusiasmo-a-medida-que-se-acerca-el-junte-boricua-en-2024/

El Nuevo Dia, 3: https://www.elnuevodia.com/negocios/turismo/notas/junte-boricua-proyecta-traer-de-vuelta-a-casa-a-50000-boricuas/

Junte Boricua: https://communications.junteboricua.com/

PR Newswire: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/puerto-rico-reflects-on-2022-as-strongest-year-in-tourism-history-this-national-plan-for-vacation-day-301734786.html

US Census Bureau: https://data.census.gov/table/ACSSPP1Y2022.S0201?q=puerto%20ricans

Posted April 2, 2024