Chile has begun to welcome a larger number of cruise passengers, a situation that has increased expectations among businesspeople directly linked to the cruise industry.
Ronny Frederick, chairman of the National Cluster for Assisting Cruise Liners, said, ‘this is a work well done which is beginning to pay off through the piecemeal and sustained increase in the amount of cruise passengers docking in Chilean ports.’ Mr. Frederick also mentioned the economic benefits in terms of hard-currency incomes, mainly for the nation’s tourist industry
A grand total of 34 cruise ships used Valparaiso during the 2001-2002 season (stretching from November to April), a figure that remained unchanged during the 2002-2003 season, though with a slightly higher number of passengers.
The 49,787 tourists that arrived at Chile’s major seaport during the 2001-2002 season were this season outnumbered by 53,266 passengers. With more holidaymakers and crew members coming down to Chile, authorities there expect those figures increase further in the future
On a global scale, the international cruise industry is growing at an annual rate of 8.5 percent. Estimates for the South American region put growth figures in the region of 20 percent. Coupled with approximately 42 liners ready to sail off the shipyards in a $15 billion investment package, expectations for the industry’s economic development in coming years is difficult to better.
In the same breath, the industry boom is also having a significant impact in the job market, especially in terms of cruise assistance and the Chilean tourism.
Such international events as the SARS outbreak, a disease that has barred Asians from being a part of the crew members, have forced U.S. and European cruise companies to lay eyes on Latin America.
Entrepreneurs close to the Cruise Liners Assistance Service have resorted to providing national crews with top-of-the-line training in keeping with the strict international guidelines in that particular field.
This allows Chilean crew members to earn an average of $1,000 a month for six-to-eight-month contracts, plus rehiring options and fees that that go well beyond their possibilities in the national market.