May 30, 2011 SAO PAOLO - Brazil could become a booming all-year-round cruise destination if technical concerns around South American cruise tourism policy were successfully resolved, says MSC Cruises CEO, Mr Pierfrancesco Vago.
Mr Vago, who was speaking during a panel discussion at South America’s first ever Seatrade Cruise Tourism Convention currently being held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, said “it is critical that dialogue be strengthened between the cruise sector, national regulators and decision makers to ensure the future of the continent as one of the fastest growing source markets for the industry.”
He said the cruise industry’s significant growth had set new records in the region during the last season, with six cruise lines operating twenty ships and carrying almost 800’000 guests.
In addition an Economic Impact Study, commissioned by Abremar, the Brazilian Association of Maritime Cruises had translated these staggering numbers into concrete economic impact.
Presented by the Getulio Vargas Foundation in a pre-opening session at the Convention earlier in the day, the study showed that the cruise sector was a huge contributor to the Brazilian economy, accounting for a total economic output of 814 million USD during the 2010/2011 cruise season.
But Mr Vago warned that it was not all plain sailing: “The cruise sector boom could be in danger for a number of factors: The industry’s development is threatened by unclear rules and regulations, there is a lack of competitive incentive in the operation of certain passenger terminals, there are weak and poor port infrastructures and operation costs are astronomical, all of which makes cruising in South America the world’s most expensive itineraries.
“I believe I speak for the entire cruise sector when I say it is about time we started assessing and discussing with all those wishing to engage in technical debate and consultations around these issues,” said Mr Vago who was joined on the panel by senior representatives of leading cruise line companies operating in the region.
“Brazil would certainly become a leading all-year-round destination if dialogue around these issues was successful”, said Mr Vago in closing.
The Seatrade South America Cruise Convention was also attended by a high-profile delegation of MSC Cruises Brazilian representatives. They included Roberto Fusaro, Managing Director MSC Cruises South America; Marcia Leite, Operations Director, MSC Cruises Brazil and Adrian Ursilli, Vice President of Abremar and Commercial Director of MSC Cruises Braz