Official opening of the 17th FCCA conference. Dominican Republic Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia Fernandez and Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, cut the ribbon in Santo Domingo.The Minister of Tourism for the Dominican Republic (DR) Francisco Javier Garcia Fernandez welcomed cruise line executives and exhibitors at the 17th Annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) event in Santo Domingo yesterday at a spectacular ceremony hosted by his department.

Garcia Fernandez emphasized the Dominican Republic’s (DR) commitment to building its infrastructure and its hopes to increase cruise traffic steadily. He noted that in 1993 only 60 ships visited the DR; 2006 248 ships; and in 2010 400 ships with a total of 500,000 passengers.

Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, will be taking over the helm of the FCCA as Chairman as Carnival’s Chairman and CEO Micky Arison has stepped down after his 10 years of service to the organization.

The FCCA event will continue through Friday, Oct. 29,  with a trade show, workshops and meetings throughout.