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Puerto Rico will host cruiseship convention for 4 years

By on September 29, 2016

PRTC Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort

PRTC Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort and Port Authority Executive Director Ingrid Colberg Rodríguez announced Thursday that Puerto Rico will be the host of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) convention for at least four years, as of 2018.

This will represent an annual economic impact of $6.5 million, or $25 million during the four years, of the event’s celebration, taking into consideration food costs, transportation and accommodations of convention participants.

The PRTC director explained during the closure of the FCAA convention held this week at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, that the event attracted more than 1,000 delegates, almost 100 cruise industry executives, six executive presidents from global cruise lines, and 32 government officials, amounting to more than 3,000 meetings, 2,800 room nights and representation from 45 countries.

“I am honored we have achieved the highest [convention] attendance in recent years, which demonstrates Puerto Rico’s attraction for all international delegates in the tourism industry. Such is the case that the FCAA selected Puerto Rico as its permanent headquarters as of 2018 for at least four consecutive years,” Rivera Rocafort said in a press conference.

FCAA President Michelle Paige explained that this is the first time the organization has selected a destination site for the association’s convention headquarters, thus “fomenting cruise industry development in Puerto Rico by proportioning the opportunity to top executives and cruise lines in experimenting the island’s offerings during their visit.”

At the moment, the economic investment the convention has represented totals $2 million, minus sales in provisions, the official said. She added that the event has allowed local business people to speak with cruise lines so they can provide services and products when the cruises reach the island’s ports.

‘Reborn’ cruise industry

Rivera Rocafort also announced that Viking Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line will homeport in Puerto Rico as of October this year. As for the Viking Star cruise ship, the agreement states it will make 12 visits to the island and remain stationed 34 hours in port, which gives tourists more time on the island, benefiting the local economy.

In addition, the PRTC director emphasized that during the fiscal year 2015 the island received 1.5 million cruise passengers, which broke the previously established record from 2007-08. She anticipated 2017-18 to break the record again with 1.6 million cruise passengers, which would represent an economic boost of approximately $240 million.

“The cruise industry is reborn and is in its best moment. Come November, we will be receiving more than 21,000 passengers in Old San Juan’s docks with the arrival of seven cruiseships in only one day, and 13 cruises in two days,” Rivera Rocafort said.

For her part, the Port Authority director said the largest cruise ship in the world, the Harmony of the Seas, an Oasis-class ship belonging to Royal Caribbean, will arrive Dec. 28. This was achieved thanks to a $10 million investment in San Juan’s Pier 3 to qualify its infrastructure for ships of those dimensions.

The $125,000 investment in Pier 4 also made possible the agreements with Viking and Norwegian. In the meantime, Colberg explained that the Port Authority will invest $1.5 million in maintenance and enhancements to the tourist port’s infrastructure “to improve the passenger’s experience.”

Carnival Vista and the MSC Seaside are other cruise ships that will dock for the first time on the island in October 2016 and Novemebr 2017, respectively.

Ponce’s Las Américas Port, meanwhile, will receive Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas in December. In 2017, it will also welcome Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Equinox cruise, and Holland America Lines.

Negotiations are underway to attract cruise ships to the Mayagüez port.

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