A Visual-Spatial Inventory of Agritourism Assets in Central Puerto Rico to Leverage Sustainable Regional Development after the Hurricane Disaster

Puerto Rico’s struggled to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane María in 2017. In particular, the rural municipalities of Puerto Rico were severely impacted due to high levels of vulnerability and government failure to reach remote communities. Due to this struggle, the municipalities of Utuado, Ciales, Florida and Jayuya identified a need for a systems-level approach to develop resilience to future disasters. The development of agritourism is an opportunity to increase social-ecological resilience through income diversification, increased savings, and food security. However, it is first essential to identify the region’s capacities, limitations, and opportunities through mapping existing tourism infrastructure. Spatially explicit documentation supports the development of sustainable agritourism through providing access to existing resources, geographically displaying the current state of agritourism and highlighting opportunities for enhancing sustainability and resilience. This paper spatially represents the current state of tourism offerings related to gastronomy, accommodations, farms, and attractions that build the foundation of agritourism in Utuado, Ciales, Florida and Jayuya municipalities in Puerto Rico. Three steps led to the spatial representation: inventorying tourism assets, visualizing these assets through Google Maps, and exploring their contribution to a region-wide, systematic sustainable agritourism development strategy, using the functionalities of ArcGIS Storymap. The inventory, catalogs the number and variety of tourism resources available, the Google Maps visually displays those resources, and the ArcGIS Storymap synthesizes findings to be utilized by stakeholders, leveraging agritourism development to increase social-ecological resilience. This paper outlines the spatial maps of tourism resources and provides tools for decision makers, farmers, and tourists.

Keywords: Puerto Rico, COSSAO, agritourism, sustainability, resilience, disaster, spatial

Full article (PDF)