CRUISE CONVERSION PROGRAM Highlights the FCCA'S PAMAC Cruise
Pembroke Pines, FL. - (February 16, 2004). On January 30, 2004, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council (PAMAC) met with 20 senior level purchasing, shore excursions and marketing executives from the FCCA's 11 Member Lines during the 6th Annual PAMAC Cruise. The event was attended by 60 of the industry's best partners, FCCA Platinum Members, along with their families. The splendid three-day cruise to the Bahamas was undertaken aboard Royal Caribbean International's Majesty of the Seas.
PAMAC is comprised of port authorities, tour operators, tourism agencies and suppliers in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America and the USA. Platinum Members and Cruise Executives gathered for the scheduled Advisory Council meeting on Friday prior to sailing. Stephen Nielsen, Vice President of Caribbean and Atlantic Shore Operations, Princess Cruises, chaired the meeting that addressed numerous issues pertaining to individual member's respective destinations. The agenda included presentations from the following:
• Port of Progreso, Mexico (presented by Raul Torre Gamboa, Commercial Manager) An overview of the expansion project currently taking place at the port was presented. The overall expansion is estimated to ultimately cost approximately $128 million dollars (US). The project will expand the cruise berth capacity to simultaneously accommodate two voyager class ships. A promenade will also be developed with an area allocated for local shops and restaurants intended to improve the cruise passenger's experience while in port.
• Atlantida Cozumel, Mexico (presented by Annika Bratt, Director of Sales) A preview of the new Atlantida Dolphin Interaction Program was given. This attraction is set to open on April 1, 2004 at Parque Nizuc - Cancun's largest water adventure park. The dolphin swim program will feature a fascinating 30-minute dolphin orientation session and a unique 30-minute in-water experience.
• MS Port Authority at Gulfport (presented by Donald Allee, Executive Director & CEO) An update on the port was provided. The recent servicing of the 3,500 passenger Carnival Conquest, Carnival Cruise Lines, in record time was used to demonstrate Gulfport's ability to efficiently handle the needs of large numbers of both passengers and crew.
All presentations were well received, but the highlight of the meeting was an overview on the Cruise Conversion Program, a system to convert cruise passengers into land-based vacationers, that was initiated in St. Thomas, USVI a little over a year ago. Edward Thomas, President & CEO, The West Indian Company Limited, indicated that St. Thomas currently has a 23% capture rate of return and is working towards a goal of 30%. Emphasizing the importance of tourist, Thomas also stated that the recently conducted USVI Economic Impact Survey on passenger and crew spending while in port indicated that cruise passengers spent an average of $225.00, while crew spent an average of $130.00.
These revelations prompted other destinations to reveal their interest in implementing a Cruise Conversion Program in their destination or prioritizing their existing program. Destinations currently participating in or interested in initiation such a program include: The Cayman Islands, St. Kitts, Grenada, Curacao and Dominica. The FCCA urges all cruise oriented destinations to consider implementing similar programs and promises to be actively involved in its success.
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The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 18 Member Lines operating nearly 200 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA’s mandate is to provide a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and to develop bilateral relationships with destinations’ private and public sectors. By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors. For more information, visit F-CCA.com, the FCCA on Facebook, and @FCCAupdates on Twitter.