Luis Fosni Is Puerto Rico's New Tourism Ambassador
The Debrief: We know where we're going on our next holiday
Are you sick of Despacito yet? I hope not, because Luis Fonsi, the singer and star of the most watched video on YouTube EVER, has just become Puerto Rico’s new tourism ambassador. That’s right! Travel execs in Puerto Rico are hoping that Despacito might do for the country what The Beatles did for Penny Lane… i.e rake in the $$$.
Visitors to the country’s main tourism website will now see Fonsi as the title image, stretching out his hand as if to beckon us towards the Caribbean Island. The campaign encourages people to take their time during their stay, its slogan ‘the longer you stay, the better it gets’ is perfectly complimented by Despacito, which translates as ‘slowly’.
It’s no wonder that the tourism industry wants to cash in on Fonsi’s success; with over 3 billion views and counting, Despacito not going anywhere fast. But apparently, we are. Acccording to Jose Izquierdo, executive director of Compañía de Turismo de Puerto Rico (CTPR), price and information searches for Puerto Rico have increased by 50% on Hotels.com, 25% on Travelzoo and 17% on Expedia in recent months.
'We will unveil the land of Despacito,' Izquierdo told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday. Which makes it sound like Puerto Rico has been hiding somewhere up until now. Still, it’s not an entirely crazy idea – the song has so far spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, reached number 1 in 45 countries and clocked up 4.5 billion global streams. To harness even a fraction of the song’s global popularity would bring in some much-needed revenue for the island.
Earlier this year, Puerto Rico was forced to file for bankruptcy in a bid to restructure national debts of around £54 billion. On top of that, nearly half of its 3.4 million citizens still live in poverty and it was hit hard by the Zika Virus outbreak last year. But maybe Fonsi is the guy to turn the country's fortunes around. Whilst the song owes its mainstream popularity to the addition of Justin Bieber’s dulcet verse, it’s the (Bieber-less) video that is currently averaging 10 million YouTube views a day, and in which, Izquierdo says, Puerto Rico stars as the ‘main character’.
In the interest of fun statistics, I’ve done some simple maths and if everyone who has streamed Despacito sent about 12 quid, we could wipe out the entire national debt. Such is the power and influence of pop culture. VAMOS!
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