August 3, 2021

Puerto Rico

DE 44 | Puerto Rico

 

Did you know you can have a unique cultural experience and immerse yourself in a beautiful tropical setting without leaving United States territory? Puerto Rico is the hidden gem for convenient yet amazing business travels. Join your hosts Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth as they share ideal destinations for your next meeting and event travel. With them today are Wesley Elizabeth Cullen, General Manager at Casa BACARDÍ, and Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, to discuss the scenic views and immersive experiences you can enjoy minus the hassle of passports, currency exchange, and translators. From the rich history and the creation of rum to water sports and food stalls, get to know the diverse activities and destination favorites you can offer your next group incentive travel.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels in Puerto Rico to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

Puerto Rico

Casa BACARDÍ GM Wesley Cullen Gives An Inside Look At One Of The Best Event Venues, Plus Discover Puerto Rico CEO Brad Dean Shares His Destination Favorites

Puerto Rico is an island located in the Caribbean, just east of the Dominican Republic and it is also under US territory. The ideal destination for hassle-free travel if you’re a US citizen; no passport needed. Experts of the land join Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth to share the beauty and diversity you can enjoy in Puerto Rico, the ideal business travel destination.

Casa BACARDÍ With Wesley Elizabeth Cullen

Wesley Elizabeth Cullen is the General Manager at Casa BACARDÍ, the largest premium rum distillery in the world, welcoming over 200,000 visitors annually. BACARDÍ was founded in Cuba but has been making rum in Puerto Rico since 1936 and was one of the first companies in Cuba exporting prior to the revolution. Today, 85% of the Bacardi rums sold around the world are made in Puerto Rico. As it’s been coined, the cathedral of rum has been registered as a historical site with 127 acres of certified conservation and amazing views of the property.

Amenities and Activities at Casa BACARDÍ

Casa BACARDÍ offers dynamic and fun activities intending to be a responsible playground for adults.

  • Legacy Tour
  • Mixology Class
  • Rum Tasting
  • Bottle-Your-Own
  • Jenga and Hula Hoops
  • Photo Opportunities
  • Bacardi Legacy Competition

Don Facundo Bacardi’s Revolutionary Rum-Making Process

  1. Fermentation
  2. Distillation
  3. Filtration
  4. Tropical Aging
  5. Blending

Casa BACARDÍ’s Sustainable Rum Distillery 

As a leader of the Bonsucro certification for molasses, Casa BACARDÍ ensures that their products are sustainably sourced both environmentally and on a human level with fair wages and no child labor. The company has a strong commitment to reducing plastic waste in the ocean and in general, with all kinds of programs that promote sustainable habits to customers.

Discover Puerto Rico With Brad Dean

Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, talks about Puerto Rico’s rich history and culture that stems from Spanish, African, and Indian heritage, which fuses magnificently. The convenient and seamless travel experience is the cherry on top of the beautiful scenery and amazing adventures the destination offers. Puerto Rico offers convenient traveling with no passport and no currency exchange, plus your phone works! It also boasts the only rainforest in the US forest system and three of the world’s five bioluminescent bays. Perfect for connecting with nature amidst a busy business trip.

Activities From Coast To Coast

There’s a range of activities to be experienced on the island of Puerto Rico. Properties are perfectly accustomed to giving access to the beach but with convenient proximity to mountains. This compact island also has six ecosystems that exponentially increase the number of group activities right at your fingertips.

  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Scenic photoshoots
  • Toro Verde Adventure Park
  • Bioluminescent Bays
  • Golf Courses
  • Wellness and Spas with nature-bound experience

The Biggest Misconceptions

  • There is so much more to Puerto Rico than San Juan. It’s a small island, but the diversity in experience it offers is astounding so take the time to explore and enjoy the many activities available.
  • People don’t realize Puerto Rico is part of the US. It offers the unique experience of an exotic ambiance of a foreign country yet the conveniences of being in the US. Most people speak English so you won’t feel far from home, but you can immerse in a new culture with rich history you can’t find anywhere else.

Walk away from your meetings, events, or business travels not only with relaxation and wellness but also with a real feeling that you’ve experienced the culture of Puerto Rico. Having experienced every scenario, Puerto Rico is equipped with resiliency and preparedness to make sure your attendees are cared for.

About Wesley Elizabeth Cullen

Wesley is a business and community leader who is passionate about bringing people together and making good things happen. Since joining Bacardi in 2017, Wesley has served as General Manager of Casa BACARDÍ Puerto Rico, the second most visited tourist attraction on the island. The visitor center is home to the iconic BACARDÍ rum and welcomes 200,000 guests annually for tours, classes and events at the beautiful waterfront campus.

Wesley is a positive disruptor who leads with contagious passion and who believes in the power of diversity and getting out of our comfort zones. This bold leadership style has earned her top recognition in Puerto Rico and the events industry, including being named among the “Caribbean Business Power 100,” the “Ideas for Puerto Rico Award” from ConPRometidos, and Venues “Today Woman of Influence.”

Passionately involved in the community, Wesley founded the non-profit organization Super Positivo, dedicated to keeping the beaches clean. She is actively involved in promoting leadership, particularly for women, and supporting the entrepreneurial and arts ecosystems through her roles on the Board of Directors for the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, SER de Puerto and Unidos por Puerto Rico, while also volunteering for a number of organizations.

About Brad Dean

After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Accounting, Brad Dean worked as a financial analyst for General Electric, and in 1993, he joined the Rank Corporation as a Unit Controller for its Hard Rock Cafe chain. In 1995 he was tapped to open and lead the Myrtle Beach unit, which became one of the most successful in company history. Three years later, Brad joined the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce as its Chief Financial Officer, and in 2003, was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber.

Under his leadership, the Myrtle Beach tourism industry enjoyed record growth and the organization was named Chamber of Commerce of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (2015), while also earning full accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Destinations International. In 2018, Brad was tapped to lead Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s Destination Marketing Organization created after Hurricane Maria.

He serves in various leadership roles with a variety of organizations including the U.S. Travel Association, Destinations International and Meeting Planners International. He is a member of the National Council of State Tourism Directors and also serves on the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. Brad has been active with many charitable organizations and also holds a Master’s Degree from Moody Bible Institute.

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