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‘Pearl of the south’: Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival to highlight city of Ponce

The 2022 annual Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival is just days away.

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This year’s parade is highlighting the southern city of Ponce.

While many of you may think of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, as a vacation destination, local leaders said there’s a different port city you should consider that’s appealing to tourists and businesses alike: Ponce.

When you think of Puerto Rico, Salvador Rovira wants you to consider the city known as the “pearl of the south.”

“Ponce has a lot of things to offer,” Rovira said.

READ: Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival returns to downtown Orlando this month

He’s the president of the chamber of commerce for the southern region of Puerto Rico and he’s getting the word out.

Ponce is known for tourism, education and a booming health industry.

“We have a very strong ecosystem in the healthcare industry in Ponce. We have four hospitals and almost 750 specialized services,” Rovira said.

There are also massive incentives for new businesses through the new program, “Ponce on boarding.”

“It provides a lot of incentives for people who want to establish new businesses there. They pay rent, they help you with the utilities, they help you taxes,” Rovira said.

READ: Florida Puerto Rican Parade announces launch of 2022 scholarship

It’s just part of a growing relationship between Puerto Rico and Central Florida, with a new focus on business in Ponce.

So much so that Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings is visiting next month.

Ponce offers calmness, in contrast to San Juan’s party vibe. It also has a rich history and unique experiences, like the nearby bioluminescent bay.

“The bioluminescent bay is in La Parguera. It’s a 30-minute drive from Ponce. It’s awesome. It’s beautiful,” Rovira said.

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Demings will be joined by Orlando’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for the trip to Ponce in May.

Eyewitness News is getting ready to bring you live coverage of the 2022 Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival.

From the floats to the music, the event in downtown Orlando will embrace Puerto Rico’s culture.

You can join us on WFTV Channel 9 for live coverage on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

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