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Ports & Destinations

International Cruise & Ferry Review

168

COMMENTARY

Michele Paige at a conference in Martinique

where ships call, what sells onboard and

how to invest in infrastructure.

Platinum Members meet with these key

decision makers through an overarching

programme blending business and pleasure

to forge relationships that often lead to

patronage. Members experience this while

proposing a new business model at a

meeting or cementing a deal over dinner.

The FCCA’s keynote event, the Conference

& Trade Show, taking place in Cozumel,

Mexico from 5-9 October, 2015, will also

showcase this balance during its five-day

agenda chock-full of business sessions and

networking opportunities. Attendees can

target cruise executives during one-on-one

meetings or evening functions, as well as

learn from the executives during workshops

that cater to informing attendees how to

increase their share of cruise tourism.

Of course, simply attending events or

joining associations will not be enough

to increase business and compete on the

global field; destinations and companies

must employ the same cruise line model of

constant innovation and differentiation. If

they do, they will continue to drive demand

for repeat cruisers and the wave of new

cruisers the industry is currently targeting –

not just from North America, but also from

the freshly converted global markets.

After all, cruisers are historically loyal; they

begin to sample different cruise products,

such as luxury liners, along with multiple

destinations. Just as many North American

cruisers first sail the Caribbean before taking

a Mediterranean cruise, the Caribbean can

attract passengers from across the seas.

Driving this demand will also ensure that

the Caribbean gains from the cruise lines’ ever-

increasing capacity through bigger and better

ships, with 33 new oceangoing vessels and more

than 100,000 berths on the order book. (Keep

in mind that the Caribbean had over 50% of

the deployment share 20 years ago when it also

received less than half of its current passengers.)

Plus other opportunities exist, such

as partnering with cruise lines to offer

tailored destination products that appeal to

particular cruise brands’ demographics.

Yes, the Caribbean has grown up with the

industry and experienced a surge in cruise

passengers; benefited from billions of dollars

in passenger spending and job development;

and seen entire cities transformed by cruise

line investments. But there is room to grow

for the cruise industry, the Caribbean

and regional cruise tourism stakeholders,

especially if all work together proactively

and synergistically.

C&F

”The FCCA helps

Caribbean destinations

brand themselves, with

their unique history and

offerings”

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, is among the new destinations in the Caribbean