Tour operators linked to the cruise industry and port authorities highlighted in Montevideo today the cultural wealth and fluvial routes as potential of South America to boost cruise tourism.
This was expressed during his speech in one of the panels of the second and final day of the VI Regional Meeting of Cruises and River Nautical Tourism that takes place in the Uruguayan capital the executive director of the Southern Cone Ports Corporation, the Chilean Sebastián Montero.
Montero pointed out that although it is "almost a continent" with approximately 450 million inhabitants, South America is a region that is little exploited by cruise companies -it represents 2% of the industry- but it has a lot of potential to continue growing in that aspect , since its patrimonial wealth attracts visitors.
"One of the things that tourists like the most (…) is that in the region we have an incredible history, we have the Incas, we have the cultures of Easter Island in southern Chile and southern Argentina and we have it amount of world heritage, "he said.
In turn, Montero stressed that the area has "many things that other regions do not have" and that they make it ideal for river tourism, such as being free of terrorism, being safe and having "excellent logistical services" for the passengers and crew of the boats, as well as with a special route.
"Unlike many others (…) we are not a cement route, we are a nature and culture route with volcanoes, lakes, we have the most arid desert in the world here in northern Chile, we have glaciers in the south of Argentina and all this we have to value it and put it more in presence, "he said.
However, according to Montero, the problem in the region is the great distances, which involve basic routes of about 15 days and that therefore do not cover more than 5% of the market.
In this line, the Chilean pointed out that the tour operators and the authorities of the region must "unite", since the incursion of the new generations, such as the so-called "millennials", and the arrival of new ships will entail "great challenges" for cruise tourism.
On the other hand, the head of port operations and government relations for South and Central America of the Royal Caribbean company, Bruna Milazzotto, pointed out that although the work is "never done" and there is always more to go, the region has made progress in his improvements to receive more ships.
In particular, Milazzotto highlighted the work of the Government of Buenos Aires, which in two years achieved through changes in port regulations and improvements in ports generate a growth of more than 50% in the arrival of cruise ships.
For his part, the assistant director of the Port of Miami (United States), Richard de Villiers, who participated in the meeting, pointed out that the port of the city is adapting to the needs of the industry through the construction of new terminals.
De Villiers said that one of them, the "Corona de Miami", which will be inaugurated these days, will be one of the largest cruise terminals in the hemisphere and will feature state-of-the-art technology and an outstanding aesthetic that will attract 5 million passengers. visitors who pass by there.
"Today, 5 million passengers pass through the Port of Miami and what we want to achieve (with the reforms) is to exceed 10 million per year," he said.
The VI Regional Encounter of Cruises and River Nautical Tourism had the participation of authorities and representatives of the nautical and fluvial tourism sector from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the United States and Uruguay.