Leaders of the cruise industry in the United States today highlighted the “vital” importance of tourism in the recovery of the Caribbean areas affected by the recent hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated the islands of Puerto Rico, Dominica and San Martin, between others.
“The best way to help the Caribbean’s economic well-being is through tourism,” Michele Paige, president of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), said in a conference call. that area were not affected by cyclones.
In fact, the FCCA launched the “The Caribbean is open for business” campaign in early October to help affected areas “stimulate the economy” after the impact of hurricanes, which left nearly 200 deaths and hundreds of thousands of people affected.
“Tourism has a very important multiplier effect on all Caribbean islands and now more than ever we have to show our support to these regions,” added Paige, who said that a single cruise season has an impact of more than two billion dollars in local economies.
It coincided with the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean, Adam Goldstein, who said that these destinations have a “tremendous value” despite the effects of hurricanes and remain “the most desirable” in the world.
He said there had been “few cancellations” on the Caribbean routes for this last quarter of the year and recalled that the cruise industry “has to coexist” with the risk of hurricanes and natural catastrophes.
Royal Caribbean shipped one of its 3,800-person cruises to Puerto Rico at the end of September to help evacuate people from San Juan and deliver supplies to different Caribbean islands, including Saint Thomas and Saint Croix.
Although more than 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s state-owned utility customers remained without electricity nearly a month after Hurricane Maria, cruise line managers wanted to calm their customers’ spirits.
So Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, another industry giants, said downtown San Juan is “completely fine” and that visitors will enjoy more time there than in hurricane-affected forest areas.
“We are helping with beach recovery and street cleaning, but for now, our cruise passengers will spend more time in San Juan’s historic downtown area for safety reasons,” Donald concluded.
The three industry leaders were “very optimistic” in the short and medium term of the cruise industry and encouraged tourists to continue visiting one of the “most beautiful” areas of the world.