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 The Chief Executive Officer of one of the world’s largest cruise companies is urging Caribbean countries to get on board with his counterparts in enhancing their visitor experiences.

Speaking at the recent opening of the 26th annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Convention and Trade Show in Puerto Rico, CEO of Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald, said: “The average cruise call brings $650,000 in economic benefits, and we are willing and ready to do more but we need your help. We need you as our strong, willing and enthusiastic partners. You want more people to come, and we want more people to come to you. The port and destination create the total guest experience, so we must create venues where people will spend their money and experience beauty of the people of the Caribbean region.”

He continued: “We are ready to provide our insights to any destination that wants to improve the visitor experience. These days it is not demographics, but psychographics; it’s not just where people want to go, it’s why they want to go. People want to experience destinations in every way possible, whether it be the culture, history, music, food, religion, architecture, or even industry. Within a day’s sail one can experience French, English, Spanish, Dutch and African culture and how they have grown in natural ways. Each country has a unique identity and heritage and this can be your gift to the world.”

Given the importance of the cruise industry to the Caribbean’s tourism product, Donald said all the cruise lines recognised the importance of getting destinations back on track in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, and cited examples of the work the nine lines his company owns, along with other operators, did to assist following the devastation Hurricane Dorian wrought in the Bahamas two months ago.

“Cruise lines have already donated and raised $8 million in relief for the Bahamas. At Carnival we have sent more than 10 million pounds in food and supplies, amounting to 250 shipping containers, 20,000 meals per day, water, medical supplies, generators and a team of specially trained employees and volunteers to assist with logistics and food and beverage efforts. Royal Caribbean has sent 400 palettes of humanitarian aid, 300 qualified volunteers and 150 Bahamians on a mission with Bahamas Paradise Cruises. The MSC group used its cargo and cruise resources to provide semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing, while Disney Cruises provided its Bahamas-based employees living in affected areas with supplies and direct aid, and Norwegian Cruise Lines delivered supplies and other support with its ships.”

The Carnival CEO praised Puerto Rico for its recovery in the wake of Hurricane Maria two years ago, noting that this year so far it had recorded its highest number of visitor arrivals ever. In contrast, he mentioned that the home in New Orleans in Louisiana where he was born and raised still bore scars from Hurricane Katrina, which devastated that part of the United States in 2005.

Donald said the 21 members of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association recognised the importance of the Caribbean to their growth and development over the years, and said they were committed to ensuring they did their part to comply with existing rules and regulations governing their operations and the marine environment. “The Caribbean islands were the first destination for the cruise industry 50 years ago, and remain the most popular for majority of first time cruisers and the biggest cruise companies.

“For us at Carnival, there is nothing more important to us than protecting the environment, maintaining safe operations and meeting our compliance requirements. When we make mistakes, we work hard to learn from them and mitigate them being repeated, because we want to be in compliance with all regulations anywhere we operate in the world.”

The original article can be found here.


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