In a virtual meeting on Friday, the Southern Cone port representatives analyzed COVID-19's impact on the cruise industry with particular focus on the upcoming South America season.
The representatives of the three countries agreed that beyond this season, there are good future prospects for the region, so it is important to maintain the communication among ports and destinations. They also discussed the coordinated implementation of health protocols.
Rodrigo Pinto, VP of Chile's Southern Cone Ports Corp. (Cono Sur) and GM of Arica Port, highlighted the relationship among the ports of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay to present and promote an attractive cruise destination.
'It seems logical to us, even more so in the current pandemic, that we coordinate actions to support this industry,' Pinto said. 'We are convinced that we are not competitors, but that we complement each other. Therefore, we must generate coordinated actions to create benefits for all three countries.'
Although the coming cruise season is uncertain due to the pandemic, 'We consider it a good opportunity to continue the dialogue on the state of the industry, cruise operations and implementation of protocols and actions to confront COVID-19,' Pinto continued.
Cruises prohibited in Chile until at least Dec. 1
For his part, Juan Marcos Mancilla, second VP Cono Sur and logistics manager of Valparaíso port, said the meeting confirms that Chile and its neighbors will continue a work agenda to ensure that more cruise ships arrive in South America. 'Therefore, the health protocols that are being implemented today in the three countries must be applied in a coordinated manner in the ports that are in the South American circuit,' Mancilla said. This, he added, is despite the fact that cruises in Chile are prohibited until Dec. 1 and, due to the current health situation, the suspension could be extended.
Joint marketing to rebuild for 2021/22 season
The meeting also addressed the need to generate joint marketing about the region's attractions and advantages to international cruise lines, in order to ensure recovery in the 2021/22 season.
Uruguay was represented by Ana Rey, commercial manager of the National Port Administration, while Argentine participants included the Buenos Aires Port's José Beni, controller; Marcelo Peyregne, general manager; and Ariel Deán, manager of communication and institutional affairs.
Besides Pinto and Mancilla, Chile was represented by Cono Sur Executive Director Sebastián Montero.