Page 14

Top Cruise Industry Executives Host Second Media Call to Tell “The Caribbean Is Open!”


he cruise industry had a clear message: The Caribbean is—and always was—open, and both the destinations and cruise lines have improved since last year’s historic hurricane season, with a focus even more fixed on partnership and longterm mutual benefits. That was emphatically delivered by some of the cruise industry’s leaders hosting a call on September 20 to update media on the region. Arnold Donald, president and chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation and global chair of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA); Adam Goldstein, vice chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises and chairman of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA); and Michele Paige, president of FCCA, took to the phones for their second time since the storms, joined by 29 media and 14 industry attendees. “Any chance to talk about the Caribbean is exciting,” said Paige when opening the call. “How could it not be with energy stored in every inch of the region’s more than million square miles ranging from beaches, rivers and waterfalls to mountains, forests and 12 FOURTH QUARTER 2018 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

deserts; from ancient ruins to bustling towns and city centers; and dozens of unique cultures and cuisines influenced by the Dutch, French, Spanish and British—all with yearround great weather, crystal-clear turquoise water and friendly people? “However, this is a special opportunity to shine light on this incredible region, its destinations and, most importantly to me, the people. It has been my personal mission for almost 30 years—and the FCCA’s since 1972—to maximize cruise tourism’s potential for destinations and the people, whom I now not only consider family, but truly believe to be the Caribbean’s greatest resource… “After all, the people create the experience. Beyond the cultures and societies they have developed, they are the ones establishing and running the authentic and engaging tours; owning, managing and operating the ports, restaurants and shops; and handling all the logistics making it possible for guests to have a worry-free day. Plus, every person interacting with a guest becomes a part of that trip and life, from a tour guide telling an unforgettable story to a smiling local at a store.

“They are the reason that around 10 million cruise passengers this year alone will receive a warm welcome in the Caribbean, as they enjoy great vacations and make memories that will last a lifetime. They are also why after a small section of the region witnessed a historic hurricane season last year, there was an equally historic recovery by destinations like the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “It was because of the people’s willingness to work 18-hour days dripping sweat after sleeping without air conditioning, all to restore those kinds of utilities for potential guests, knowing a true turnaround required tourism’s crucial contribution to their economies and livelihoods… “Those tireless efforts certainly paid off and showed not just these destinations’ and people’s ability to face adversity and come back even stronger, but also the strength and resilience of the entire region.” Goldstein started by stressing “that the vast majority of Caribbean destinations were not affected at all by the storms”—something he reminded had been done for more than a year, “but I

Travel & Cruise Fourth Quarter 2018