“Everything you read about Puerto Rico in the media is crisis, crisis, crisis. But there’s another reality to our island,” she told me. “The first phase of this campaign is intended to change the way we look at our own country internally, because many people here feel sad about the situation. I think the first stage of promoting love for country has been a success, because we’ve seen people starting to have a new appreciation for our island.”
The campaign started by enlisting 10 of the island’s top young Instagrammers—with a total followership of 200,000—to do their thing. Their posts inspired a bevy of other Puerto Rican instagrammers and foreign tourists alike to join the movement. In one month, the hashtag campaign has resulted in more than 6,000 user-generated photos uploaded to Instagram, and nearly 14 million impressions on Instagram and Twitter, according to Portela.
The basis of the hashtag campaign, similar to Guatemala’s recent IG tourism-promotion campaign, is to harness the power of social media to influence public opinion about a country whose name is often uttered in the same sentence as the word crisis. But unlike the #VisitGuatemala campaign, which was funded by that country’s tourism board, #CrisisIsland is completely independent and pro-bono.