Sebastián Montero, executive director of Cono Sur, met with Undersecretary Mónica Zalaquett at her offices in Santiago.
Backing for Cono Sur efforts
'It is very important that the main national authority in tourism support our management, and we can contribute the experience we have achieved over time in the cruise industry to boost the growth of national tourism,' Montero said.
One of the key issues addressed was Chile's participation in the Seatrade convention, April 8-11, where the country will be represented in the exhibition with a stand involving the undersecretary of tourism and Cono Sur, as well as other organizations linked to the cruise industry.
'As every year, our goal is to have an outstanding participation at this event, and we are already working with the undersecretary of tourism and our associate members to organize the stand, schedule meetings with cruise line executives and spread the word about the bill recently approved to open cabotage to foreign-flag cruise ships,' Montero said.
He added: 'We are very satisfied with the support we have had from the undersecretariat and the work we have developed together.'
Zalaquett's advocacy was instrumental to lawmakers approving the cabotage change, which had been championed for years by cruise industry proponents like Cono Sur and the Agunsa Group, manager of the Valparaíso Passenger Terminal.
Montero said he and the undersecretary agreed they will continue to work together to disseminate this news 'because we are very interested in promoting and showing this great progress we have made as a country.'
South Pacific route
In addition, the meeting analyzed the advantages of the South Pacific cruise route—itineraries involving Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, set to begin operating with the opening of the new Panama City Cruise Terminal at Amador. This facility is expected to benefit all the ports on the South Pacific coast of the Americas and generate greater opportunities and economic impact for the respective countries.
(A Seatrade Cruise Global session, 'Rise of the Pacific: North, Central and South America,' on April 10, will include this topic.)
Record cruise season
According to Cono Sur estimates, the current cruise season is expected to exceed Chile's 2008/09 record numbers.