June 13, 2021

Cooperation, not competition, is key for Caribbean’s continued success

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by Daniel McCarthy From Travel Market Report
The Caribbean has seemingly forever been the bellwether for the cruise industry. According to CLIA’s 2018 Cruise Outlook, 35.4 percent of all cruise deployment was dedicated to the Caribbean, more than double the second-most-trafficked region (the Mediterranean). But it’s not yet saturated and there’s still room for growth and more guests to attract.  

In the keynote speech at the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) conference and trade show this week in San Juan, Puerto Rico, MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said that the key to reaching that growth in the Caribbean is to first challenge the status quo, and then to maintain cooperation between the cruise lines, ports, destinations, and land operators in the region.   

“We see plenty of growth opportunities in this region … The cruise industry will add at least another 110 ships to the global fleet in the next 9 years. That’s more than 250,000 lower berths. How much of this growth can the Caribbean capture?” he told attendees. “The ‘status quo’ can no longer work. It cannot meet the challenges of the future.” 

Tour operators, cruise lines, ports, and destinations have to cooperate to create new and engaging experiences for travelers, Vago said, and the FCCA conference is just one of the opportunities for them to do that.  “We are gathered here for a purpose,” Vago said. “We need to take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate. We can and must do more to make good on our promises to continue promoting Caribbean cruising.?Together, we can keep the Caribbean as the world’s most important destination for cruising — for many years to come. 

“The cruise experience starts the moment a guest books their cruise. It won’t finish until they are back at home after their vacation. Many things happen in between. Airports, flights, transfers, terminals, embarkation, life onboard, ports of call, shore excursions, disembarkation, etc. None of us, alone, is in a position to guarantee a front-to-end amazing experience. But together, we can.”  

MSC has long been considered one of the biggest European cruise lines, but with its $16 billion rapid expansion plan already underway, the line has a new commitment to the Caribbean that includes a new terminal at Port Miami that will be home to a number of its ships in the next 18 months, and its first Caribbean private island built exclusively for its guests. 

“We will be homeporting in Bridgetown, Cozumel, Havana, Fort-de-France and Pointe à Pitre — helping fill airports, taxis, hotels, restaurants across the entire region. But that’s not the end,” Vago said.

IMAGE: Vago speaking at this week’s FCCA conference in San Juan. Photo: MSC. 

For more on this story go to; https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Cooperation-Not-Competition-Is-Key-for-Caribbeans-Continued-Success

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