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Study: P.R. nabs $198M in cruise ship business in ’14-’15

Puerto Rico led the Caribbean in passenger embarkations during the 2014/2015 cruise year with more than 454,000 counted. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Puerto Rico led the Caribbean in passenger embarkations during the 2014/2015 cruise year with more than 454,000 counted. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Puerto Rico benefited from $198 million in total cruise tourism expenditures during the 2014/2015 cruise year, which in turn, generated 5,209 jobs and $75 million in wages, according to a study released Wednesday by Business Research & Economic Advisors.

The economic impacts of cruise tourism in Puerto Rico were generated by both homeport and port-of-call visits, the study released at the 22nd annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show in Cozumel, Mexico, showed.

Puerto Rico led the Caribbean in passenger embarkations during the 2014/2015 cruise year with more than 454,000 counted. The island destination ranked sixth in passenger and crew onshore visits with 1.63 million visits.

On average each passenger and crew visit generated $124 million in shore excursions and other goods and services, the study confirmed.

Puerto Rico had the highest crew expenditure rate of $149.44 and 234,400 crew onshore visits. As a result, the crew visits to the island generated the fourth highest level of crew onshore expenditures of $35 million during the 2014/2015 cruise year.

“In Puerto Rico crew expenditures were concentrated on retail purchases of clothing and electronics and purchases of food and beverages, which accounted for 50 percent of their total expenditures in Puerto Rico. These were followed by purchases of jewelry, ground transportation and cosmetics. Combined these three categories accounted for another 20 percent of their total expenditures,” the study showed.

Meanwhile, the study revealed that Puerto Rico had the second highest level of cruise line expenditures, at $39.2 million. As the major Caribbean homeport, the purchase of ship supplies is more important than in most other destinations accounting for about one-third of the total expenditures made by cruise lines, the study concluded.

In general, the cruise tourism generated $3.16 billion in direct expenditures, 75,050 jobs and $976 million in employee wages among 35 participating destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America during the 2014/2015 cruise year and the 23.6 million passengers disembarking ships and visiting the destinations.

The FCCA engages this study as one of many ways it works with destinations to foster understanding of cruise tourism, its benefits and how to best actualize its potential.

“The study’s release during the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show further adds to the event’s focus on maximizing this potential through a series of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities between destination stakeholders and cruise executives to offer insight and develop business and relationships,” trade organization officials said.

Contributing to this year’s increase were passengers spending 30 percent more per passenger on shore excursions, 20 percent more per passenger for local crafts and souvenirs and two percent more for food and beverages, along with a higher percentage of passengers making purchases in each of these categories. In fact, more than half of all transit passengers that went ashore purchased a shore excursion and food and beverages.

Other key findings from the study include that 63 percent of passengers made their first visit at the destination; 93.7 percent went ashore; 65 percent made onshore purchases; and passengers spent an average 4.38 hours ashore. Plus visit satisfactions surveys found that cruise passengers were very satisfied with their overall destination visit; shore excursions received the highest score of all visit attributes; and passenger interactions with residents and store employees were very positive.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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