MERIDA — The biggest guns in the high-powered world of major cruise lines were on hand Tuesday Oct. 24, as Mexico Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid Cordero and Yucatan Gov. Roland Zapata Bello officially opened the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s 2017 convention in Merida.
Speaking in English and Spanish, de la Madrid proclaimed that “Mexico is open for business” while lamenting September’s earthquakes and vowing Mexico’s solidarity with Caribbean islands that have also suffered devastation from recent hurricanes Irma, Maria and other storms.
Besides Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean Cruises and chair of the FCCA, and the chief executives of the Caribbean’s other major cruise lines, including Carnival, Norwegian Caribbean, Holland America and others, also attending were Gov. Carlos Joaquín of Quintana Roo, Gov. Carlos Mendoza Davis of Baja California Sur, Yucatan Tourism Secretary Saul Ancona Salazar, Merida Mayor Mauricio Vila and many other state and federal tourism officials.
In keynote remarks, Goldstein said the most recent statistics available place the Caribbean’s cruise industry’s economic impact at $3 billion USD, generating 75,000 jobs and $1 billion in wages.
With 200,000 new cruise-ship berths coming on line in the new few years, Goldstein predicted “the future will dwarf these numbers.”
“The cruise industry is creating new destinations that didn’t even exist before,” he added.
That pronouncement must have resounded well with Yucatan Gov. Zapata, who without doubt would like to see more cruise ships calling at Progreso and possibly other Yucatecan ports.
“Tourism offers a great opportunity for social development,” Zapata said in his remarks to the several hundred attendees at the opening ceremony. He also touted the “mosaic of experiences” Yucatan offers to tourists, particularly Mayan culture.
De la Madrid said Mexico is joining with five Central American countries in a new promotion campaign focusing on the “Mundo Maya” (Mayan World).
The FCCA convention continues through Friday Oct. 27 at Merida’s Siglo XXI Convention Center and other venues.
By Robert Adams for TYT
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