Spotlight On: Brad Dean, Discover Puerto Rico

Brad Dean is currently the CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, the newly formed non-profit that supports the promotion of tourism to foster economic growth to the Island. Since 2018, Brad has been driving forward its mission to bring prosperity to Puerto Rico by collaboratively positioning the diverse and unique Island as a premier destination.

An accountant by profession, Brad started his career working in business and manufacturing, but tourism has been his passion for over 20 years now. From Brad’s perspective, travel gives you the chance to explore different cultures, allowing you to realize how different and yet equal we human beings are, and that’s why he loves tourism and travel.

“From the perspective of the destination, I love that we’re hosts, and we work hard to make amazing things happen… for us at Discover Puerto Rico, meetings are more than just a financial resource, it’s truly an honor to host these events where people come together to make extraordinary things happen,” said Brad Dean.

Puerto Rico: A trusted destination for meeting planners

“I’m optimistic we’ll be able to bring everyone together again,” said Dean, who with his team is making it a priority for the Island to prosper, grounding its very foundations on leisure and business tourism.

“Here you’ll find a fascinating mix of old and new; cutting-edge technology mixed with tradition. We know meeting planners want their groups to be safe, entertained, have great meetings, but also to have a terrific experience, and Puerto Rico has all that,” said Brad.

We’ve already written about all the changes the Island has made after Hurricane Maria and COVID-19, which include facility upgrades, and the inclusion of new technologies and biosecurity protocols, among other aspects you can read more about on our On-Site: Puerto Rico.

As in many destinations, Puerto Rico has increased safety standards in airports, hotels, and meeting venues, but has also extended that coverage to cabs, restaurants, entertainment venues, and small hotels, in short, the entire value chain beyond the metropolitan area.

The Island has also leaned into hybrid meetings, promoting capabilities across the Island so that meeting planners know Puerto Rico is ready to adapt with them.

“It’s vital for us to offer visitors a safe space throughout their entire trip. No matter what part of the island you visit, your safety is a priority and applies for every type of business. It’s the only way we can guarantee the safety of both visitors and island residents,” added the CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.

Promotion strategies with a humanitarian approach

From the beginning of the pandemic, the office has focused on delivering accurate information, keeping Puerto Rico and its message of safety and convenience (being a U.S. territory) top of mind with meeting planners.

Among other initiatives, Brad shared that towards the start of the pandemic they sent Puerto Rican coffee to meeting planners. “If they were going to be as stuck as we were, they could at least enjoy some good coffee,” he added with a smile.

“Virtual vacations” are another sensory project, more educational than anything else. They consist of online cooking classes, salsa dancing lessons, and other topics to help keep the captive market connected until the recovery.

In addition to being a MICE industry leader, Brad is a husband, father, friend, baseball lover, not so good at golf but he likes it, and maybe not that good at salsa dancing either, though his daughter inspires him to keep on trying. “Something I’ve experienced here is that nobody judges you,” Dean said in closing.

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