Travel & Cruise 2nd Quarter 2022

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Meeting and Events

FCCA Caribbean Cruise Summit in San Juan Moves Mutual Success Full Steam Ahead


he cruise industry again embarked in Puerto Rico, with over 250 attendees joining 50 high-level executives – including four Presidents and above – from FCCA Member Lines for the FCCA Caribbean Cruise Summit, which took place in San Juan from June 1-3. The event resumed Puerto Rico’s efforts made before changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “to take the cruise tourism industry to new dimensions of growth and diversification that enhance it as an indisputable tool for the economic development of the destination,” according to Carlos Mercado, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company. “We [were] very excited to once again host the FCCA annual conference, an essential event for the cruise industry and the local economy,” he continued. “This platform gives us a great opportunity to raise awareness about the of our island’s potential as a travel destination for cruise lines. We’re sure that the top executives of the companies present [had] their eyes on what truly differentiates us from other destinations, in and outside the Caribbean.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a commitment had been made to hold the FCCA convention in Puerto Rico for four consecutive years. It had been previously held in Puerto Rico in 2016, 2018 and 2019. “We were excited and honored to return to Puerto Rico after a delay due to COVID-19. Puerto Rico has been an unwavering partner throughout the

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process, and this period has shown the importance of that kind of collaboration and communication,” said Michele Paige, Chief Executive Officer, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA). “That is also why the event was so significant to the attendees and cruise executives to continue the recovery and efforts to build back better - and for Puerto Rico to continue its momentum by displaying its products and culture to the prestigious audience.” The event was designed to foster a better understanding of the inner workings of the cruise industry and to help attendees enhance business development with cruise lines through a specialized forum combining meetings, workshops and networking events for attendees to have a unique opportunity to develop relationships, promote products and learn from the cruise executives who decide where ships arrive, what is sold, what they use on board and how invest in destinations and infrastructure. “This event allows us to have greater possibilities to show the competitive advantages of our destination to the cruise lines that operate on the island and to strengthen our position as one of the key players in the world cruise industry,” said Mercado.

Opening Ceremony The opening ceremony began with a folkloric dance coordinated by Puerto Rico. Paige then took the spotlight to welcome

all and share her gratitude for the faith it shows in the FCCA and cruise industry, which she pointed out had also been on display throughout the pandemic – which made it possible to navigate through the rough waters because of the constant communication and collaboration. This was a silver lining in the tragedy, she told, and mentioned there have also been other opportunities in the crisis by the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico benefitting from the establishment of destinations as homeports, more capacity (even in the summer), longer stays and multi-port calls. She continued that FCCA also used the period as an opportunity to evaluate and seek ways to improve, especially by talking to partners to see what they need, including new strategic agreements and revamped employment and purchasing programs that all focus on finding ways for more locals throughout destinations to benefit from cruise tourism, which is more important than ever as so many destinations and people work to recover their economies and livelihoods in the wake of COVID-19. She then introduced Richard Sasso, Chairman, MSC Cruises USA, for the keynote message, who told he was honored to be there and part of the collaboration that has proven to be crucial for cruise lines, destinations and stakeholders to recover following COVID-19. All in attendance likely know the importance of communicating and work-