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FCCA Central America Cruise Summit delves into growth, seafarer jobs

FCCA President Michele Paige, second left, with Costa Rica Minister of Tourism Amalia Revelo. At left is the FCCA's Adam Ceserano and at right, MSC Cruises' Albino Supino di Lorenzo PHOTO: FCCA
Central American destinations were encouraged to understand the diverse needs of today's cruise travelers and to differentiate their products in order to compete globally during the FCCA Central America Cruise Summit, taking place in San José, Costa Rica.

This is the approach that has made the cruise lines themselves so successful, Michele Paige, president of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, said Wednesday night during remarks at the event's opening ceremony.

Reforms to open jobs for seafarers

Paige commended partnerships with destinations and stakeholders throughout the region, with every tourism board, many port authorities and local municipalities and key tour operators participating in the FCCA Platinum Membership program, as well as numerous governments engaging in initiatives to maximize the benefits of cruise tourism. These include taking steps to implement and reform laws to open employment opportunities for seafarers.

Economic impact

Paige noted cruise tourism expenditures talled $425.7m and supported 10,756 jobs paying more than $58m in wages during the 2017-18 cruise season in the seven Central American/Latin Caribbean destinations participating in the FCCA's 2018 economic impact study by Business Research & Economic Advisors.

Those destinations are Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

As well, cruise lines have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in regional infrastructure, including Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' Harvest Caye in Belize and Carnival Corp. & plc's Mahogany Bay in Roatán and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic.

Also on hand for Wednesday night's opening ceremony were Costa Rica Minister of Tourism Amalia Revelo and other representatives of Costa Rica's private and public sectors.

Continuing today at the Costa Rica Convention Center, the FCCA Central America Cruise Summit is linking more than 250 regional stakeholders with nearly 20 high-level cruise executives for meetings, workshops and networking opportunities.

What it takes to be a destination of choice

Workshops set for Thursday include 'Building Your Destination: What It Take to Be a Destination of Choice,' moderated by Russell Daya, executive director, maritime & port operations & itinerary planning, Disney Cruise Line. Panelists include Jaimie Castillo, director, worldwide port operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Jennifer Marmanillo, director, itinerary planning, Norwegian Cruise Line; Claudine Pohl, international business development manager and trainer, Aquila's Center for Cruise Excellence, FCCA's official training partner; Leon Sutcliffe, director, port operations & government relations, Carnival Cruise Line; and Christopher Szel, shore excursion manager, TUI Cruises.

Seafaring and procurement opportunities

The 'Seafarers' Employment & Procurement Opportunities' workshop will touch on ways destinations can help provide the current cruise fleet and future ships with crew members and supplies, from positions available to training and legislation that can open opportunities, to purchasing procedures and requirements that can help local suppliers understnd the business.

This session will be moderated by Adam Ceserano, SVP, FCCA, with panelists including Hugo Aparicio, seafarers' placement coordinator for El Salvador Maritime & Port Authority; Federico Gonzalez, VP destination development, Latin America & Caribbean, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Vina Jumpp, director, procurement food & beverage - North America, Export US, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Jose Negron, VP strategic port development, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; and Emilio Silvestri, minister of tourism, Honduras.

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