SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced the arrival of Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, at the San Juan port. Oasis of the Seas accommodates 6,360 passengers and 2,394 crew members, and has scheduled six visits to the country this year, estimating a $2.3 million impact on the Puerto Rican economy. The governor also announced the early arrival of two additional cruise ships that will place Puerto Rico at the forefront of the Caribbean and global tourism industry. Allure of the Seas is scheduled to arrive to the Island in the early summer of 2016.
Harmony of the Seas, scheduled to arrive in late 2016, will become the largest ship once it sails with a capacity to carry 6,780 passengers and 2,300 crew members.
The arrival of these cruise ships is evidence of the success of the tourism development policy implemented by Governor Alejandro García Padilla. Amid the fiscal situation facing the country, the tourism industry has maintained its upward trend.
“We have reason to be proud because we have worked hard for it, especially in the tourism sector. With the arrival of Oasis of the Seas, as well as Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas at the end of the year, we have established our position as a world class destination for cruise ships. The transformation of our tourism industry is a testament to our efforts. Last year we broke the record reaching half a million cruise passengers received, and this year we have continued to grow in the cruise industry. This is part of the legacy we want to leave our children and future generations,” said the governor.
The arrival of these cruise ships to the port of San Juan was made possible due to the reconstruction of port 3, which was finalized in late 2014 and inaugurated on Dec. 4, 2014 by the world’s second largest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas. In addition, amendments made to the law on cruise ships have attributed to the economic impact of these arrivals to spread throughout the country, as they allow new cruise ships to arrive in Puerto Rico and prolong their stay on the docks, motivating tourists to explore other attractions beyond the capital.
The growth in the cruise industry has led to equally positive achievements in other areas of tourism, such as hotel and the airline industry. The hotel industry has had a revival, which is evident through the Convention District and small inns that have opened throughout the country, including the first Bed and Breakfast in San Sebastián and Casa Sol in Old San Juan. Similarly, the renewal of Luis Muñoz Marín Airport has allowed for the arrival of airlines including Air Europa, Volaris and Norwegian, and the return of others including Iberia and Avianca, which provide direct flights to cities in Europe, Colombia and Mexico.
“Port 3 is now the symbol of a country marching forward and looking confidently to the future, creating the space needed to generate greater prosperity,” said the governor, as he extended a warm welcome to the captain, crew and passengers aboard Oasis of the Seas. Following his welcoming remarks, García Padilla boarded the ship to present the captain a plaque which marks the cruise ships first trip to the port.