The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is working with the Government of Puerto Rico in an ambitious effort to make strategic investments in the development of tourism throughout the island.

According to the tourism company, highlights include the designation of the East Coast and Central regions as tourist regions.  After a $1.3 billion investment by the Government of Puerto Rico four years ago, the region will have over 5,000 new hotel rooms by the end of 2008 and will create 3,774 new jobs in the region

The Porta del Sol Region has seen an increase in travel –upwards of 60 percent over the same period (January - April) last year- due to its unique offerings for surfers; this surf season has seen unprecedented growth as the waves in towns like Rincón have been especially favorable

This upward trend will surely be stimulated by travel packages offered by JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, which have sponsored a sweepstakes on Florida radio outlets to promote its routes from Orlando and Fort Lauderdale to San Juan, Ponce and Aguadilla.

Porta del Sol is also the focus of substantial investments as the city of Mayaguez prepares to host the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2010; over $430 million is being allocated toward the expansion and renovation of the local road infrastructure and the construction of the Quebradillas Coliseo, a multi-use sporting complex.

Meanwhile, more than 30,000 people attended the Feria Porta Caribe (Porta Caribe Fair) in Ponce last week to celebrate the region’s cuisine, history, and art; the fair was also the setting for an agreement that was signed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and other tourism leaders in Puerto Rico, to pledge support for the region’s thriving tourism industry.

Ponce is Puerto Rico's second largest city and the Ports Authority has invested $2.5 million to upgrade the Ponce Mercedita airport, while the seaport can now accommodate large cruise ships following massive investments in its infrastructure, according to the tourism company.

At the Porta Caribe Fair, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Terestella Gonzales-Denton, and the Ponce mayor, Francisco Zaya, signed an agreement pledging support for the local tourism industry.