Officials welcome arrival of 3 cruise ships, and estimated $1.3 million impact
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico Tourism Company (CTPR by its Spanish initials) Executive Director Carlos Mercado Santiago celebrated the arrival of 14,301 passengers aboard the Carnival Celebration, MSC Seascape and Norwegian Getaway cruise ships, all docked in Old San Juan on Wednesday.
Mercado Santiago said the economic impact of the visit of the three cruise ships is estimated to be over $1.3 million.
“The Tourism Company remains firm in the plan designed by Governor Pedro Pierluisi to continue developing the cruise industry in all the ports of the island,” the CTPR director said. “In the past 11 months, we have seen an accelerated, almost total, recovery of the cruise ship market, cruise ships, with the arrival of more than 10 new vessels, the reactivation of the Port of Ponce as a tourist stop and the inclusion of ports on the island in itineraries for new vessels such as MSC World America, among other advances.”
Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá Batiz joined in welcoming the passengers from the three ships.
“Certainly, the continued arrival of cruise ships strengthens the local economy, makes it clear that our port continues to be one of the favorite destinations for cruise passengers, reflects the effectiveness of our work plan put together with the Tourism Company, and represents a vote of confidence from the cruise lines,” he said. “We have worked for this and will continue to do so per the public policy of Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi to strengthen our critical infrastructure, of which our ports are a significant part.”
As part of the efforts to continue increasing the number of cruise passengers and the quality of their experience on the island, the CTPR is coordinating training for tour operators and people who work directly with visitors from the cruise industry with the leading company AQUILA. The international certifications of AQUILA’s Center for Cruise Excellence are specifically designed for personnel who work in tourist ports, docks, information centers, tour guides, drivers and businesses on issues of product development and service excellence, among others. The trainings are an integral part of a quality of service program that the CTPR will be launching soon, “Puerto Rico Yes -- Quality of Service 100 x 35.” The program aims to increase the competitiveness of the destination by guaranteeing high levels of satisfaction among the consumers of the island’s touristic offer.
“The preparation and training of partners from all sectors of the tourism industry is a vital element to promote an increase in quality and satisfaction of all who visit Puerto Rico,” Mercado Santiago said. “Strategies like this provide the staff that represent us as a tourist destination with the necessary skills to offer a first-class service to cruise passengers. We are confident that these trainings will result in more ship visits and a greater boost and contribution to local economic activity.”