CRUISE TOURISM IN THE AMERICAS BENOIT BARDOUILLE
The Caribbean represents roughly 46% of the Cruise Market and that is a significant share of the global market. All the major cruise lines operate within the wider Caribbean Region.
Increasingly larger vessels are being built and deployed to service our destinations • An enormous responsibility is placed in the management of the various Ports with scarce resources to expand/refurbish their existing facilities at the expense of improving Cargo facilities to accommodate mega ships.
There is the need to be proactive in this growing cruise market within our regions by exploring more skilful ways of conducting business with the cruise fines :
1. Securing more long-term contracts with the cruise lines, so the facilities being developed or built become more viable or “bankable” projects.
2. Develop among our regions itineraries that would determine what Ports of call these ships would serve, be it in the Western Caribbean, South Eastern Caribbean or South American regions, as opposed to letting the Cruise lines tell us what ports they think they can fit in their itineraries
3. The need to create a wider Caribbean Village Concept by including many more of the Americas into our programs or outreach to the cruise lines. Some of the cruisers and vacationers are potential customers and are constantly looking for new places to visit.
4. In the area of Port Security many of the ports have spent large sums of money to ensure that they were ISPS compliant for July, 2004, and especially in those Ports where cruise passengers visit because of the increase risk.
5. There is need for an effective cruise conversion programme so that a better partnership can be established between the Hotel or land vessel operators and the cruise operators.
6. Within the region we need to look at the sourcing aspect or supplying products and services to cruise ships and the need to develop a framework to become an active participant in providing the required resources on board ships.
7.Another area to which much attention is not given is that of employment on-board ships, especially in the hospitality sector. If more employment is provided on-board theses cruise ships by people from the region, the experience gained could benefit some of the land base facilities, given the knowledge and skills acquired on board these ships.