One of the reasons to visit Guatemala this year lies within their cruise offering, which allows passengers to experience just enough off the country’s culture, gastronomy and exotic nature to lure back approximately 70 per cent of visitors for a longer stay, according to data published by Inguat - Guatemala’s Tourism Board.
“Guatemala has received approximately 218,328 cruise passengers over the past few years, 98 per cent of them recommend the destination,” said Pedro Duchez, director of Inguat.
“A large part of our work has been focused on the promotion of this sector by strengthening our infrastructure and increasing our offshore offering,” he added.
Part of the path taken by Inguat to promote this segment, has been strengthening regional ties with Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, efforts that gave way to the Mesoamerican Route introduced in January 2014.
This has significantly increased the country’s visibility among cruise industry professionals.
As a Platinum Member of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Guatemala has also been the host of cruise industry events such as the Conference of Platinum Members in Antigua and the second Cruise Summit of Central America in 2013.
An upward trend in cruise ship arrivals in Guatemala was documented by the FCCA showing a five per cent increase for the 2014-2015 season.
The country received 79 ships, two new cruise lines and five new ships from 17 different cruise lines.
Some of the lines operating in the country are: Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, Regent, Oceania and Royal Caribbean.
Guatemala received a total of 69 arrivals during the 2013-2014 season, hosting 80,864 passengers mostly from the United States and Canada.