A new day is dawning for the embattled tourism promotion industry in Puerto Rico, as CVB veteran Brad Dean, who helmed the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce as CEO for 15 years, is set to take the reins of the newly created Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization (PRDMO).
The new job Dean will start in late April 2018 is certainly not without its challenges. Puerto Rico has recently weathered everything from massive storms, from November 2017's devastating Hurricane Maria, the damage from which still has the island’s infrastructure flickering in and out in many places, to a Zika virus outbreak in 2016.
“I don’t do easy,” Dean said. “It’s three things for me: I started my career in Puerto Rico early on in manufacturing, and fell in love with its people, and met my wife and got married there.
"Travel, if it’s promoted right, can create careers, strengthen communities and deliver prosperity, and right now there’s no one that needs prosperity more than the American citizens of Puerto Rico, so it was personal and professional for me," he added.
Although his leaving Myrtle Beach is bittersweet, Dean said he is heeding somewhat of a higher calling by taking the Puerto Rico job.
“At the end of the day we are all called to have an impact on the lives of the people around us," he said. "I felt there was no opportunity that was as special as to change lives and create an era of prosperity for Puerto Rico.
"If Puerto Rico is going to come back we need the travel industry to drive that," Dean added. "That was part of the challenge, and part of the appeal, of this opportunity.
“For me this is not about money," he concluded. "It’s about a unique, once-in-a-career opportunity to create something special, and it's great for my wife to come back after following me around for 25 years.”