Puerto Rico receives record number of cruise passengers
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló stood alongside the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC), Carla Campos, on Friday to announce record numbers in the arrival of passengers to the island, as well as growth projections.
In May, eight months after Hurricane Maria ground the island to a halt, a record 107,390 passengers arrived. June closed with the arrival of 134,903 cruiseship passengers. The announcing press release compared the new numbers with July 2017’s 104,044 passenger arrivals and the 114,186 who arrived in August 2017.
“We are very pleased with the result obtained during the past fiscal year as a result of the cruise activity. Even considering the great impact of Hurricane Maria, four months with historical figures were reflected, which undoubtedly contributed to a fiscal year closure with around 1.2 million cruise ship visitors and an approximate injection of $152 million to the economy of Puerto Rico,” the governor said.
“We were the Caribbean destination that managed to recover the fastest after the hurricanes, as a result of the proactive actions taken by the Government of Puerto Rico to generate the necessary confidence from the lines. Now we are well positioned to continue our growth,” the Tourism Co. director added.
According to the government corporation’s projections, fiscal year 2019 will see a record-breaking number of cruise passengers as well, “reaching the historic figure of 1.7 million passengers,” the release reads.
“This results in an increase of 41% versus 2017-2018, and 16% compared to 2016-2017. This historic figure, with some 544 confirmed visits, will result in over $250 million of economic impact on Puerto Rico,” the release reads.
June’s record numbers were largely due to the increase in visits of large cruise ships to the island, the government said, such as the Anthem of the Seas; the Allure of the Seas; the new Carnival Horizon; the Harmony of the Seas; and the MSC Seaside, “which is one of the largest, most luxurious, and most modern of the MSC cruises and whose first stop in the Americas was in Puerto Rico.”
Contributing as well as this year is “the new Viking Sea cruise ships—which used San Juan as their base port—and the luxury cruise Silver Muse arrived for the first time at the San Juan dock.
“Finally, Royal Caribbean replaced its main San Juan-based ship, the Adventure of the Seas, with Freedom of the Seas, one of the largest in the world; and registered an increase of 20% in the passengers that visit and embark in San Juan,” the release continued.
The governor’s office, La Fortaleza, stressed that Rosselló signed Act 124 of 2018 in June, “which extends the validity of the cruise ship incentive program for two years in order to maintain the confidence of the industry in Puerto Rico as a destination,” and quoted Campos as saying that “the cruise industry is one of the fundamental pillars of tourism…. That is why we strive to promote its growth through innovative marketing strategies, attractive incentive programs, and the excellent relationships established with the components of the industry.”
La Fortaleza also pointed to the creation of the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), “as well as the arrival of more cruises and flights,” as some of the “achievements of the local Government in the past months for the growth of this sector.”
The DMO “is an initiative of the Rosselló administration,” it added, to develop the destination’s brand and promote Puerto Rico abroad.