Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association files legal action to prevent party politics from interfering with destination marketing


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The president of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA), Miguel Vega, announced today that the Association filed a Motion for Intervention and Provisional Remedy before the San Juan Court so that the marketing campaign of the destination is not affected by undue intervention from the State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish acronym).

Recently, the NPP Electoral Commissioner filed a Writ for Review that requested that the resolution that approved the Puerto Rico Tourism Company campaign titled Puerto Rico the All Star Island be reviewed.

“Once again we find ourselves needing to defend the tourism industry. For years, we have indicated the need to separate the marketing and promotional efforts of the Island as a tourism destination from party politics. Today we can see how the matter we address today validates our position and reaffirms the need to establish a private and independent professional marketing entity for the destination,” Vega explained. “We cannot allow the industry to be held captive to interpretations that seek to determine if the promotional and marketing efforts contain political elements. Today we are asking the Court to determine that the SEC is not empowered to evaluate if the marketing and promotional campaigns of Puerto Rico as a destination, internally or externally, comply with the provisions on broadcast controls and public expenses contained in the Electoral Law,” he said.

Similarly, it was reported that the law provides the following in Article 12.001 – Public Broadcasting Expenses of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

During an election year and up to the day following the elections, Puerto Rico’s Government, Legislative Assembly, and the Judicial Branch are prohibited from incurring in expenses for buying time and space in the media, as well as buying and distributing propaganda or promotional materials for the purpose of giving their programs, projects, achievments, actions, projections, or plans exposition. Exceptions to this provision are those press notices and ads specifically required by law, the Tourism Company campaigns for promoting internal tourism, promotinal campaigns outside of Puerto Rico by the Puerto Rico Toursim Company or the Puerto Rico Convention Center District Authority marketing the island of Puerto Rico as a tourism destination, or the Industrial Development Company promoting foreign investment in Puerto Rico, as long as administrative or corporate achievments are not included or any official is not highlighted. In addition, notices or summons to legislative or administrative public hearings published and circulated without the use of paid mass broadcast media are excluded.

The tourism executive also said that “It is imperative that this controvery be resolved as soon as possible. We are in the middle of the high season and cannot allow our presence in the markets to fade because of political party discussions. If the Court still believes that the SEC can judge promotional and marketing campaings undertaken by the Company, we urge the parties to determine immediately which ads comply and which ads do not comply. We need to be present in the tourism markets. We cannot allow that one of the few industries that creates opportunities even within the current crisis be held captive to these discussions. Our industry and the country deserve more from our leaders,” concluded the hotelier.