Puerto Rico Reports Cruise Business Boost Due to Incentive Plan
Puerto Rico reports that its cruise business has increased after an incentive plan was adopted in July 2011. During the fiscal year ending June 30, the incentives have led to significant and, in some cases, double-digit increases, which are estimated to result in an additional $16 million impact on Puerto Rico’s economy for 2012-13.
This is due to changes for the 2012-13 high season. Carnival Cruise Lines replaced the Carnival Victory with the newer and larger Carnival Valor, which will bring an additional 11,000 passengers and 138 crew members, and that is estimated to have an impact of $2.3 million in a one-year period.
Royal Caribbean announced that the Jewel of the Seas will homeport in San Juan for the summer 2013 and will have a positive estimated impact of $8 million. Also, Disney Cruise Line will include San Juan as a port of call on the Disney Fantasy’s itinerary for an impact of $5.8 million in a one-year period.
The Cruise Industry Incentives Act, which established a promotional fund of $11 million, was designed to increase both homeport and transit cruise visits to Puerto Rico by providing tiered port tariff discounts based on passenger volume, tiered cash incentives for homeport passenger movement, cash incentives per passenger based on time in port, incentives for purchases of goods and services, a co-op marketing program, and incentives for tour transportation providers.
The cruise industry contributes about a quarter-billion dollars on a yearly basis and is one of main sectors of Puerto Rico’s tourism sector, not only because of its economic impact, but also because it is the island’s image before millions of tourists who visit the island for a few hours. Cruise ship visits to Puerto Rico have a direct economic impact of more than $245 million per year, driving 1.2 million passenger visits annually, and maintain over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. The tourism industry represents approximately 6 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross national product.