Readjustments in Mexico’s cruise ship industry have led to wins and losses for the various cruise ship ports but on the whole the industry has come out ahead in the first two months of the year.
The readjustments have been made as a result of security concerns and a shortage of facilities, sending more ships to lesser known destinations and fewer ships to some of the traditionally popular ports.
Among the beneficiaries have been Huatulco, Oaxaca; Puerto Chiapas, Chiapas; Acapulco, Guerrero; and Loreto, Baja California, according to the Communications and Transportation Secretariat.
In the first two months of last year, Puerto Chiapas saw just one cruise ship arrival. This year there were six. Acapulco went from six to 11, Huatulco from five to 10 and Loreto from one arrival to two.
In contrast, Mazatlán saw a 9% decline in visits and Manzanillo a whopping 37.5% drop.
The industry’s main challenge is insecurity. The president of the Association of Cruise Line Service Providers (AMEPACT) said the perception of insecurity in some destinations has prompted cruise lines to switch ports.
But worse now is that insecurity is not so much a perception any more but reality, said Arturo Musi.
Port changes have also been made due to limitations in facilities. If there isn’t capacity at a particular destination, a ship will be sent to another that has space, Musi said.
But on the whole, arrivals are up so far this year by 18% to 484. The number of passengers is also up, from 1.22 million to 1.439 million.
But Musi laments the fact that the cruise ship market has not yet recuperated from the decline recorded in 2008 when it took a beating due to insecurity, influenza and the economic crisis. Mexico was a leader back then; now it is in 14th place as a cruise destination.
Despite that, it is still one of the top 10 preferred destinations, according to the Latin America manager of Princess Cruises. Ruth Leal pointed to Cozumel: with 1,200 annual arrivals and 16% of the world market, it is the industry’s principal port in Latin America.
Source: Reforma (sp)