SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – The FCCA Central America Cruise Summit closed today after successfully linking local stakeholders and cruise line executives to develop mutual understanding and business relationships. Taking place in San Salvador from May 13, the event offered a chance to meet with executives from FCCA’s 19 Member Lines for a series of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities.
“This event took a step in the right direction to utilizing this region’s potential,” told Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation and the FCCA. “By interacting with some of the cruise industry’s most important decision makers, regional stakeholders forged invaluable business relationships and learned first-hand how to begin or improve their cruise tourism business.”
“The FCCA Central America Cruise Summit gathered some of the most prominent cruise executives with local stakeholders to establish mutual understanding and business relationships that pave the way for future business,” said Michele Paige, president of the FCCA. “It epitomized one of the FCCA’s main goals—to help destinations maximize their share of cruise tourism—and represented more forward momentum to tapping this region’s potential.”
Paige opened the event along with Vice President Oscar Ortiz and Hon. Jose Napoleon Duarte Duran, minister of tourism and aviation, on the evening of May 13. They addressed cruise tourism’s reach, with 23 million passengers expected this year, and future growth from the 100,000 extra berths already on the order book. Recognizing the significance of the economic impact from these passengers, which spend an average of $96 during a cruise visit, they touted the region’s destination products and potential.
In order to activate this, they told the attendance to not just think about their offerings and potential, but to work with each other and the cruise lines. They touched on the success of their neighbors, Guatemala and Honduras, but told that this came through a commitment by all sectors catering cruise tourism. In order to replicate this success, they stressed the need to understand the industry and develop relationships.
The Summit offered this through a delegation of Member Line executives who decide where ships call, what products are sold and used onboard, and how to invest in infrastructure. These key decision makers were on-hand in one-on-one meetings with attendees, providing a chance to promote products and receive individualized input, and social functions that fostered networking and relationship building.
They also presented in workshops that discussed the potential of cruise line calls, what to consider when developing a cruise facility, and how to attract cruise vessels and showcase destinations. “Breaking into the Industry: A Recipe for Success” was moderated by Mico Cascais, vice president, tour operations, Carnival Cruise Line, and featured Federico Gonzalez, associate vice president, government relations, Latin America, Caribbean & Asia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Tom Anderson, director, shore excursions, Holland America Group.
A workshop on port and destination development was moderated by Russell Daya, director, global port operations & developments, itinerary & strategic planning, Disney Cruise Line, and included Carlos Torres de Navarra, vice president, commercial port operations, Carnival Cruise Line, and Jose Negron, director, port operations, Carnival Corporation & plc.
The Summit also proved to these executives that the region is interested and dedicated to growing cruise tourism. Plus El Salvador’s destination product was showcased throughout the event, with tours provided for attendees and executives to see what cruise passengers can see and do.