Caribbean and Latin American leaders, including Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, committed to strengthening cruise tourism efforts throughout the region as nearly 1,000 industry experts from around the world convened in St. Lucia for the 16th Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference & Trade Show.
“In times of economic downturn, those that remain aggressively in the forefront of the marketplace are those who are best positioned to prosper as our economy recovers,” FCCA President Michele Paige told delegates.
The record turnout in challenging economic times underscores the need for regional partnerships, Paige said. “Now, more than ever, we have to work together to get ahead.”
Delegates from 42 Caribbean and Latin American destinations attended the event. Participants also came from as far away as Spain and Dubai.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez made a special appearance to confer with cruise line executives. Also at the conference were port officials, tour operators, tourism agencies and suppliers, and approximately 100 cruise executives from among the association’s 15 member lines.
Delegates attended standing-room-only workshops led by member-line executives and expert guest speakers. Topics covered marketing strategies in the recession; keeping up with trends, and developing innovative tour operations. They also sat in on private meetings with cruise executives to present tourism products, analyze industry trends and discuss developing issues.
In addition, more than 75 players raised funds at St. Lucia Golf Club for the FCCA Foundation at the conference’s annual golf tournament, which was sponsored by Rak Porcelain.
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association is composed of 15 Member Lines: AIDA Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., Norwegian Cruise Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Seabourn Cruise Line. It was created in 1972 by cruise lines operating more than 100 vessels in Florida, Caribbean and Latin American waters to foster legislation, tourism development, and cooperation on ports, safety, security and other cruise industry issues.