Mexico's First Cruise Ship Home Port Eyes 2017 Opening
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Construction on Mexico's first-ever cruise ship home port is 50 percent complete, according to Carina Dominguez of Cronkite News.
The $100 million project taking place in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, otherwise known as Rocky Point, began back in December 2013 and is expected to be finished by January 2017.
The city's director of promotion and international affairs Miguel Guevara has gone so far as to call it "the most important project the city has ever had."
"Our main market is and will always be Arizona, but the home port will bring people from other states to come and start their trip on the Sea of Cortez," added Guevara via Dominguez. Rocky Point is situated just 200 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona.
While critics point to potentially negative effects on local residents and wildlife, there is significant support for the port, which will stretch about a mile in length west of the city's tourist strip. The Sonora tourism department's director of port operations Jose Luis Castro said Mexican authorities support it because it will benefit the economy nationwide, per Dominguez.
In addition to attracting international visitors, the port is expected to allow cruise lines to tap into an overlooked market in Mexico as many of the country's residents are unable to cruise because they lack visas.
Once the port is open, it will serve as both a departure and arrival point for passengers, eventually hosting 3,000-passenger cruise ships after starting with smaller vessels. Additionally, the completed port is expected to generate as many as 7,500 direct and indirect jobs within the first two years of operation, according to Guevara.
Guevara noted that Rocky Point trails resort destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun by a considerable margin, but highlights its proximity to the U.S. as a key benefit.
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