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Chilean officials welcome Zaandam to Puerto Chacabuco

Zaandam anchored at Puerto Chacabuco (Photo: Conosur)
The arrival of Holland America Line's Zaandam to Puerto Chacabuco opened the cruise season in Chile's Aysén region. Government and maritime officials including representatives of the Southern Cone Ports Association (Conosur) took part in an inaugural ceremony with Capt. Wouter Van Hoogdalem and other senior ship's officers.

Representing Aysén were Senate president Patricio Walker, regional Mayor Jorge Calderón, Gov. Paz Foitzich of Aysén Province and members of the port and maritime community.

It was an honor to participate in the inaugural and support Puerto Chacabuco, a Conosur member, the association's executive director, Sebastián Montero, said.

Conosur, which represents the Chilean ports that handle cruise ships, works to promote the destination in the international cruise industry.

Montero highlighted Conosur's accomplishments in recent years, including working with the government on legislative changes that have benefited the industry, such as reduced lighthouse fees and the approval of casino operations aboard cruise ships sailing in Chilean waters.

The Conosur chief noted a current focus is working to relax cabotage to enable international cruise ships to sail Chilean itineraries without negatively impacting the domestic cruise business.

The association's promotional work will include participating, along with Chile's undersecretary of tourism, in Seatrade Cruise Global in March 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Zaandam arrived at Puerto Chacabuco from Chile's Puerto Montt carrying 1,100 passengers on a cruise that will end at Buenos Aires.