Below please find links to everything you need to know about our program in Puerto Rico.
Please download our event app for use on-site in Puerto Rico and call our events hotline if you need to reach us directly! 1-774-946-8792
Puerto Rico is a US territory - so if you are coming from mainland USA, you won’t need a passport!
If you have additional guests staying in your room and you have not yet added their name to your reservation, we suggest doing so before getting to Puerto Rico for added convenience when checking in (especially for Thursday as all delegates will arrive to the hotel at different times)
We will have a vendor markeplace available on Thursday evening. We suggest bringing cash with you in the event that some vendors cannot take cards.
Download our event app! You’ll be lost without it.
We are going paperless and using Attendify! Everything you need to know will be available on our official event app. It’s where you’ll find all of the event information, alerts when things change, a social feed, info on our education sessions and more. It’s the way to keep connected at the event - so please make sure to download it (by downloading and actively using it you will enter to a win a free cruise, provided by Royal Caribbean!)
Search “attendify” in the app store and enter “tourism cares” when the app launches. That will bring you directly to our Tourism Cares for Puerto Rico event.
Tourism Cares requires that attendees take the provided transportation to all event sites for Wednesday and Thursday. Parking is not available at our work site and logistics to those sites complicated.
Transfer to Wednesday evening reception: 6:45pm from the Condado Hilton Lobby
Transfer to Thursday activities in Ponce: 6am from the Condado Hilton Lobby
Transfer to Thursday evening reception: 6:45pm from the Hilton Ponce Lobby
On arrival day (Wednesday) transportation to the Condado Plaza Hilton is the responsibility of each attendee.
Tourism Cares will provide transfers from Ponce back to San Juan on Friday after the closing breakfast at set times. Transfers will be assigned based on flight information provided. Our transportation providers suggests volunteers allow 4 hours for transfer/airport arrival.
Return transfers are pre-assigned and sent via email. The following are our transfer times from Ponce with drop-off information:
8:45am: Ponce Hilton to SJU
10:00am: Ponce Hilton to SJU
11:30am: Ponce Hilton to SJU with second drop-off at Condado Hilton
1:30pm: Ponce Hilton to Condado Hilton
For those planning to fly from Ponce at the conclusion of the event, please note that there are no shuttles from the hotel to Mercedita Airport. Ride shares are available, but very limited. Taxis are available for approximately $30-$40 but must be arranged in advance. Please inform the hotel well in advance of your departure if you require assistance.
Please note: If delegates miss any of the provided and assigned transfers, transportation to event sites will be the responsibility of the individual.
Wednesday, May 8
Arrivals to San Juan. Transfer to host hotel is the responsibility of each participant. Optional tour activities available.
8am - 10am: Name badge pick-up available at the Condado Hilton San Juan (Grand Ballroom Foyer, second floor)
Noon - 1:45pm: Name badge pick-up available at the Condado Hilton San Juan (Grand Ballroom Foyer, second floor)
2pm – 5:30pm: Opening remarks & breakout sessions, Condado Hilton San Juan
Program delegates and locals exchange in knowledge sharing, best practices in business and gain insight in to the future of Puerto Rico tourism.
Delegates who are volunteering on Thursday will collect their volunteer kits, which includes t-shirts, bags, water bottles and other materials at the close of the education sessions in the Royal Ballroom Foyer.
7pm – 8:30pm: Opening networking reception at the Antiguo Casino, hosted by Discover Puerto Rico
Overnight in San Juan
Thursday, May 9
Please eat breakfast before departing. Denny’s in the Condado Hilton is open 24/7.
6am - 8am: We’ve got a bit of a ride ahead of us, so get comfy! We promise the trip is totally worth it. Transfer to southern Puerto Rico. Please make sure you check-out before arriving to the lobby.
Transportation sponsored by AAA
8:30am – 3pm: Volunteering at CMTAS farm. Lunch provided by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
Arrivals to Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
7pm – 9pm: Food festival at Serrallés Castle, hosted by Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Hilton Ponce, Serrallés Family and Don Q Rum
Delegates will sample local food, enjoy local entertainment and have the opportunity to purchase goods from local vendors during this celebration of Puerto Rican culture.
Overnight in Ponce
Friday, May 10
7:45am – 8:45am: Closing breakfast – what have we learned in Puerto Rico? Hosted by Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
Through its conference program and intimate networking opportunities, Tourism Cares for Puerto Rico Education Programs will equip attendees with innovative ideas, professional networking and practical tools to drive meaningful change at their businesses.
Opening Session: This opening session will focus on the linkages and connections of communities and tourism, look at the bigger picture from a 40,000 ft view of the role tourism plays in creating livelihoods, investing in the local economy, and the ripples. This welcome session will also dive into the mission-shift and evolution of Tourism Cares. A focus on looking forward and the future of tourism through demonstration of destinations and entrepreneurs.
Speakers include Greg Takehara and Paula Vlamings of Tourism Cares, Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló, Carla Campos, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Brad Dean, Discover Puerto Rico and Christian De Boer, Refill Not Landfill
Track 1: Social Enterprise and creating a sustainable tourism value-chain
The tourism industry is one of the greatest avenues for job inclusion and wealth distribution. Including social enterprises and community associations is resourcing local initiatives with market connections, diversifying product offerings, and creating long-term economic drivers in destination. Tourism is also one of the few industries that is able to bring economic insurgence, job opportunities, and infrastructure back to a region that has been impacted by natural disasters.
Delegates will engage in “speed dating” style meetings with 12 social enterprises from Puerto Rico - to learn about their product and services and provide feedback to provide solutions to challenges, build networks and simply learn more about the incredible work happening on the island.
Track 2: Local Innovation – Food Sovereignty
80% of Puerto Rico’s food is imported from Mainland USA. This session will discuss how agritourism businesses are emerging across Puerto Rico as a means to create livelihoods and community cohesivity. It will also discuss and address challenges and solutions to including more local suppliers into the tourism value chain.
Track 3: Train the Trainer (invite-only)
This session is designed for local Puerto Rican businesses and is a closed session. The session invites local speakers to address the group on topics like up-skilling and resource sharing, overcoming challenges and networking.
One of our major goals in Puerto Rico is to connect our mainland delegation to the incredible organizations doing business on the island. These are the organizations you will all have the opportunity to meet on Wednesday during the breakout session. We highly encourage you to learn more about them pre-event and think about ways you can work with them in the future - Can you incorporate them into your existing product? Can you help connect them to other tourism businesses? What can you learn from their good works?
Thursday morning, attendees will volunteer at the Center for Microenterprises and Agricutural Technologies of Yauco (CMTAS). The mission of CMTAS is to create and maintain community by offering training and educational services in sustainable agriculture through a microenterprise approach.
The community center and farm at CMTAS is an incredible example of resiliency. After the hurricane, CMTAS became a refuge for the community, feeding hundreds and providing clean water. In addition, CMTAS uses sustainable energy through biodigesters (a tank that digests organic materials biologically) and solar panels to power the facility in the event that another natural disaster occurs. They are a model of sustainability.
CMTAS offers community workshops for the development of projects around renewable energy, water savings, sustainable agriculture, composting and recycling. These workshops impact families in marginalized communities northeast of Yauco. In recent years, they have been working as an incubator for entrepreneurs linked to sustainable agricultural practices directly impacting their community.
The vision of the organization is to become a model of excellence in community development by serving as a facilitator and agent of change in renewable energies, food security and the development of local community.
Our group will be planting native trees, building fences, clearing brush left from Hurricane Maria and more, all as an effort to aid in the development of the farm for future entrepreneurs and local farmers. Work assignments will be provided at registration on Wednesday at the Condado Hilton San Juan.
All of the sessions, receptions and events for the duration of the program are casual.
For the Thursday volunteer day:
Comfortable clothes you do not mind getting dirty are a must
Long pants are required
Tourism Cares provided t-shirt
Close-toed shoes are required. You will not be allowed to work in sandals!
We strongly suggest bringing a long sleeve shirt to protect your arms from vegetation, insects and the sun. Dressing in layers is very strongly suggested and bringing a change of clothing for the afternoon is recommended.
We suggest bringing a light rain coat in the event of a passing shower.
It’s the Caribbean in May! We can expect San Juan and Ponce temperatures to be in the mid to high-80s during the day and the mid-70s at night. We ask that you prepare for the warm weather accordingly. Hydration is key during this event - so please make sure to drink plenty of water, which we will provide at each work site.
There will be a chance of rain each day, so please come prepared with light rain gear.
Although it will be hot, we suggest wearing/bringing breathable layers to protect you from the sun.
We will provide sunscreen and shade structures - but please come prepared for the Caribbean.
There will be a coffee break provided during the educational sessions in the late afternoon. Lunch will be on your own.
In the evening, Discover Puerto Rico will be hosting an evening reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres. San Juan has an incredible food scene - we suggest enjoying the local cuisine by trying the local restaurants within San Juan that evening on your own.
Breakfast is on your own. Denny’s is open in the Condado Hilton 24/7 - but please make sure to leave plenty of time, you can expect 150 of your colleagues to be down there with you.
Snacks and lunch will be provided throughout the day.
The evening will be hosted by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Hilton Ponce, Serrallés Family and Don Q Rum at the Museo Castillo Serrallés. Enjoy the local spirit of Ponce with a food festival and craft fair with items of sale from local artisans and vendors.
Breakfast will be provided at the Friday morning session at the Hilton Ponce.
There is a store in the Ponce Hilton if you would like to purchase a snack for the bus ride (2 hours) to San Juan.
Our three days in Puerto Rico are incredibly busy without much free time - but we know how important it is to support local businesses. On Thursday during our closing reception we will bring local vendors to our group! You can shop and support right there at the Seralles Castle from 7pm - 9pm.
We suggest bringing both cash and credit card as some vendors can only take one or the other.
Layers! We suggest bringing long sleeves to protect you from the sun and vegetation.
Clothing and shoes you do not mind getting dirty for the volunteer project
A reusable water bottle (or Tourism Cares will provide one on-site)
A smile and a positive attitude :) This is going to be so much fun!
Your business cards! Wednesday is all about networking
We suggest having cash on hand for the Thursday marketplace as some vendors are unable to take credit cards.
Please post from your worksite on your own social media sites! Use the hashtag #WhenTourismCares - and its National Travel & Tourism Week - #nttw19. Follow and tag us at @TourismCares
We are doing our best to be as sustainable as possible during our program in Puerto Rico. We want to make more of an impact and less of a footprint. Here's what you can expect:
We are minimizing plastic use, so all volunteers will receive a refillable water bottle and water stations will be available at our worksite. Want to bring your own water bottle? Please do. Our bottles can be used at future events going forward.
We will work to ensure cutlery, plates and cups used at our receptions are reusable or compostable and made from renewable materials (like corn!).
We are sourcing local as much as we can, and bringing in local vendors to sell their goods and services.
Here’s our list of suggested tours and things to do during your time in Puerto Rico. All tours and activities can be booked direct to the operator by each delegate.
Old San Juan Best Kept Secrets Tour by the Puerto Rico Historic Building Drawings Society
10am - 12:30pm | $25 per participant
“In this 2.5-hour stroll you'll experience historical architecture with an insider, not just as a tourist, as the tour visits private residences and locations with limited access. You'll have a chance to peer into dungeons, wonder at frescoed chapels, and climb rooftops to explore hidden towers, basque in secluded Spanish patios, and learn about the fascinating historical characters and events that shaped the city."
Global Flavors Puerto Rico Tour
11am - 1:00pm | $105 per participant
Become a foodie insider and experience paradise through food! This walking tour will take guests on a 2-hour, 3-stop food trip to taste some of the local flavors of San Juan. Indulge yourself and savor Puerto Rican “must eat” cuisine, like local single origin coffee, artisanal paletas, rich chocolate and even make your own signature Puerto Rican dish: Mofongo. The tour includes appetizer, main course with a cocktail (woohoo!), and dessert from some amazing local shops that serve the best the island has to offer.
Local Guest Experiences:
Local Guest has put together some tour packages pre/post event - everything from a caving adventure, to bohemian roof top party to an exploration of the incredible Hacienda La Mocha! Click here to learn more and book direct.
Social enterprise immersion:
Tourism Cares will be introducing you to some amazing partners on Wednesday in San Juan. But please, feel free to reach out direct to learn more about their experiences, goods and services!
Explore local tourism experiences by region by visiting the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s community immersion website. Click here to learn more.
Volunteer on Tuesday:
Want to get your hands dirty before Thursday? Click here to learn more about volunteering with All Hands and Hearts - an organization helping communities impacted by the hurricane. To book, email Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
Want to know what the Clinton’s, Vogue and Jimmy Fallon have in common? They’ve all highlighted some of our partners on the ground in Puerto Rico! Check out these videos and cool articles to check out before you get to Puerto Rico - some stuff to kill time on the plane!