Cruise ship business at the Port of San Juan is up 15.2 percent for the first nine months of the fiscal year, representing an increase of 124,619 passengers year-over-year, Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Víctor Suárez said Wednesday.
During the July 2013 to March 2014 period, a total of 946,244 cruise ship passengers arrived to the island, vs. the 821,625 on record for the same months in Fiscal 2013, he said. The increase in passenger arrivals goes hand-in-hand with the jump in cruise ship arrivals to the Port of San Juan for the same period, he said. A total of 367 cruises have stopped in San Juan this year, vs. 339 the prior year, representing 28 additional stops.
“These are the results of the strategy to restore the island to its privileged position as the hub of the Caribbean, together with the Tourism Company,” he said. “This will continue to increase thanks to the improvement project to expand Pier 3, which will allow the island to welcome cruises carrying more than 6,000 people, such as the Quantum of the Seas, whose first trip to the Port of San Juan is scheduled for Dec. 14, 2014.”
“This cruise has nine trips planned for the 2014-2015 season. This represents the arrival of about 33,000 passengers and the creation of 120 indirect jobs. The economic impact of mega-cruise ship visits will exceed $300 million over the next 10 years,” Suárez said.
The Pier 3 improvement project calls for building a new cement platform and installing a new support and mooring facilities to add another 182 feet to the facility. The project also includes a new building for baggage screening.
In the construction phase, the development will create 135 direct jobs and will inject at least $13 million a year into the economy, said Suárez, noting that dredging of the Port of San Juan will be completed between October and November, which will promote greater passenger volume with the arrival of the Oasis and new generation vessels.