“Bahia Urbana is a 15-year, $1.5-billion waterfront initiative that will redevelop the San Juan ports area from Pier 3 to the convention center district,” explained Lopez. In addition, the San Juan municipality has its own waterfront initiative, and will spend another $1.5 billion starting with the installation of San Juan’s new light-rail train. Lopez added that Pier 3 in Old San Juan is also undergoing renovation to make it friendlier for larger cruise ships.
Lopez continued that homeporting in 2010 grew by 34 percent, pointing out the Celebrity Millennium, and that for 2011 total cruise visits should increase by 8 percent.
“The biggest challenge for Puerto Rico, as for the entire Caribbean region, is maintaining and growing market share,” said Lopez. “With new destinations being developed, the Caribbean region needs to remain competitive and keep enhancing its product offering and marketing strategies.”
Lopez credited Puerto Rico’s cruise business to the government’s commitment to the industry, modernization of its ports and various other “visionary incentives.”
Lopez also noted the industry’s generation of 5,000 jobs and an economic impact of more than $240 million in Puerto Rico.
To read a special edition 10-page Caribbean roundtable profiling the latest happenings in the region, see the Spring 2011 edition of the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine.