Discover Puerto Rico has appointed United Kingdom-based travel representation and PR consultancy Hills Balfour, an MMGY Global company, as its international representation agency.
Hills Balfour will oversee Discover Puerto Ricos marketing, trade and PR interests in Canada, Colombia, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, working together to grow international arrivals.
Discover Puerto Rico is a private, not for-profit enterprise whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world.
Hills Balfour will work in partnership with the organisation to position the Island as a premier travel destination to an international audience in order to increase visitation, dispersal and spend.
As part of this effort, Hills Balfour will work collaboratively with its international network, Travel Consul, to develop and implement a strategic plan that will help Discover Puerto Rico achieve its goals to raise global awareness of the destination and grow international arrivals.
“Tourism benefits everyone on the island enormously and we look forward to putting a new emphasis on growing our international arrivals through our expanding global footprint in partnership with Hills Balfour.
“Puerto Rico is thriving, and we are taking exciting steps to widen our reach, encouraging more international travellers to experience our rich culture, beautiful natural wonders and immense bounty of one-of-a-kind experiences,” said Brad Dean, chief executive of Discover Puerto Rico, the islands first-ever destination marketing organisation.
“With world-class facilities and developing infrastructure projects, including new hotels, restaurants and attractions, alongside an increase in international flight options, there truly has never been a better time to visit Puerto Rico.”
In Puerto Rico, the travel industry employs roughly 77,000 people and impacts 17 other sectors of the economy.
Tourism contributes to 6.5 per cent of Puerto Ricos gross domestic product and is on the rise given the Islands popularity as a must-
Four migrants found dead off Canary Islands as dangerous crossings continue
Four migrants were found dead on a boat heading for Spain’s Canary Islands.
It is the latest in a string of attempted migrant crossings since the start of the year, in which at least 20 people have died.
Helicopters went to the aid of the makeshift boat on Sunday south of El Hierro island, after being spotted by a fishing boat, the Spanish coastguard said.
It was carrying 23 people, of which 19 were hospitalised. Three were said to be in a serious condition.
This year has seen a surge in the number of people attempting to make the crossing between Africa and the Canary Islands, a dangerous route due to strong currents.
Between 1 January and 15 March this year 3,436 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands, more than double the figure recorded last year.
Late last month two women and a man died on another overcrowded boat, with 41 people rescued.
A few days before that, a two-year-old Malian girl was reported dead on another boat of 52 migrants from Western Sahara, which was also rescued by the coast guard.
The ultimate wine tour is in Croatia, 20 metres under the sea
The Dalmation Coast in Croatia is known for its stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and pristine seas. But did you know it’s also home to the world’s first underwater winery?
Along the Pelješa peninsular, not far from Dubrovnik, is the small village of Drače. Here lies the world’s first and only underwater winery, nestled within a shipwreck beneath the Adriatic. Tourists are invited to scuba dive to the cellar and explore this unique approach to wine production.
The Pelješac peninsula is known for its fine vineyards, which produce world-renowned varieties of wine including Dingač – the ‘king of Croatian wine’. But since 2011, Edivo Winery has taking a different approach to maturing its wine: submerging it under the sea.
Edivo Winery is the first winery in the world to have a licence for aging wine under the sea. It’s also the only one with a patent to sell wine in amphora – an ancient type of vessel traditionally made out of ceramic.
The innovators behind Edivo Winery say that ageing wine in this way brings a unique flavour and story to their products.
“We came to the idea of making undersea wine because we love diving and everything related to the sea,” says Nives Roman, manager at Edivo Winery.
The making of ‘The Sea Mystery’
The first bottle of wine to be successfully submerged in the sea began its journey in late 2013.
The team tried several locations around the peninsula at first and the spot they have now is ideal because the temperature of the sea stays at 15 degrees celsius all year round. A stable temperature is key to making wine.
They decided to name their unique creation ‘Navis Mysterium’ meaning ‘the sea mystery’.
How is the wine made?
The wine is made with locally grown grapes, some of which are native to Croatia, such as Dignac. It’s aged in a cask for one year before being sunk to a depth of between 18-25 metres, where it will mature for another two years.
During this time, the wine is sealed in a terracotta amphora or wine bottle. The wine doesn’t see the light of day until it’s opened and poured into a glass to enjoy.
“Every amphora is a hand made product, as it has to pass a 14-day procedure of handling and cleaning once it’s taken out from the water,” explains Roman, “Corals, seashells and algae become part of the packaging design. Therefore, every amphora or every bottle becomes a unique sculptural masterpiece – a perfect souvenir with the signature of the Adriatic Sea.”
The company’s diving team monitors the winery every 14 days, in between taking tourists down there. After an in-depth (pardon the pun) guided tour of the winery, guests can resurface and enjoy a fresh seafood meal to complement their wine.
Spain’s most beautiful villages you’ve never heard of
From medieval fortresses in Valladolid to volcano-clinging towns in the Canary Islands, Spain is home to hundreds of fairytale villages. Here are just some of our less-trodden favourites.
Tejeda, Gran Canaria
Perched on the edge of a volcanic basin in Gran Canaria is Tejeda, a cluster of whitewashed homes dating back to the 3rd century AD. Tejeda’s pre-hispanic history is preserved in the nearby burial caves and rock carvings of Roque Bentayga, a geological formation that Gran Canaria’s indigenous people once used as a fortress. Today, this historic village is most famous for its almond trees, not only for their candyfloss-pink flowers that bloom every February but also for their vital role in bienmesabe, an almond chutney best eaten with home-made vanilla ice cream. Between feasting on sweet almond delights, shopping for locally-produced cheese, and taking in the Caldera’s epic volcanic views, there’s easily a day or two of exploring to be done here.
Nestled among the vineyards of Castille y Leon is Urueña, a medieval stone village home to 168 inhabitants and 12 bookshops. The first town in Spain to be named a Villa del Libro (Book Town), its winding cobbled streets are lined with dozens of libraries and museums dedicated exclusively to writing, reading, and bookbinding. There are also weekly poetry readings, second-hand book fairs, and bookbinding and calligraphy workshops on offer. When you’ve explored every book in the village and mastered the art of book-making, pay a visit to Urueña’s 11th-century castle and 13th-century city wall, which is one of the best-preserved in the region.
Fornalutx is a stone-built village nestled among the orange trees of Mallorca’s sunny Soller Valley. It’s terracotta-roofed houses and cobblestoned streets are made all the more striking thanks to the town’s flower-filled windows and bottle-green wooden shutters, not to mention the postcard-worthy Tramuntana peak backdrop. Other than soaking up Fornalutx’s love of lazy coffee mornings and pa amb oli (bread rubbed with whole garlic cloves and topped with olive oil and tomatoes), visitors come here for the excellent hiking and biking trails that connect the olive grove-studded villages between Fornalutx and Soller. While you’re here, don’t miss a sunset plate of arros brut (saffron rice cooked with chicken and pork) at Turó, a typical Mallorcan restaurant with stunning views over Fornalutx and the surrounding hills.
The highest village in Andalucia’s Alpujarra region, whitewashed Capileira boasts some of the best Sierra Nevada views, including the summits of Cerro Mulhacén and Picacho Veleta. Its steep, narrow streets are lined with flower-filled balconies, retirees soaking up the sunshine on wooden rocking chairs, and hole-in-the-wall tapas bars serving locally produced sheep’s cheese and cured meats. The village is well known for its hand-made leather products, but most visitors base themselves here for the hair-raising hikes up and around Mulhacén, the highest peak in mainland Spain. For epic views over Capileria and the Poqueira gorge, head to the mirador (lookout point) on the village’s southeastern edge.
Severely damaged by Spain’s civil war, the medieval village of Albarracín spent over 60 years in ruin. A recent restoration, however, has brought its rose-pink coloured castles and balconied houses back to life. Albarracín, strategically carved into the cliffside above the Guadalaviar River, was once the capital of a Moorish kingdom, Taifa, remnants of which can still be seen in the 10th-century fortress walls and Andador tower. Today, the town offers a beautiful viewpoint over Spain’s east-central hills, a museum housing rare flamenco tapestries, and access to the Albarracín Cultural Park, a web of pine forest trails that take in 26 post-Palaeolithic rock art sites.
Alcalá del Júcar, Castilla la Mancha
Once a Muslim fortress, Alcalá del Júcar, a village in eastern Spain’s Albacete province, clings to the limestone cliffs high above the river Júcar. Some of the town’s whitewashed caves, which were once used as homes and granaries, have been turned into cavernous bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy Albacete’s famous game meat gazpachos, snail broths, and cod mashed potatoes below ground. The towering 15th-century castle and church dominate the top of the cliffside, while a medieval bridge and pretty stone plaza where locals hang out on the river are at the foot of the village. If you’re here in the summer months, don’t forget your swimmers – the river here is clean and safe to swim in.
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