Latin America is becoming an increasingly popular cruise destination, but never a high volume destination for this market. Those who have taken a ship to the Galapagos or the Amazon, who have undertaken an expedition to Chile or Argentina, traversed the Panama Canal or tied up in Havana and Cartagena are primarily interested in the destination. Encounters with the locals, history, nature in its purest form, and real life are all important, but there is no call for a fancy programme of on-board activities. This is an important aspect of the Latin America Forum at the ITB Berlin Convention, where the subject under discussion is cruises.
For Europeans in particular Latin America is a far-off destination, and travelling there is not cheap. “For this reason, and a number of others, the region will never be popular as a high volume destination for cruise passengers“, unlike some Caribbean islands. This was emphasized by Andreas M. Gross, Chairman of the Latin America Working Group. “However, it still offers a great potential. In general there has been vigorous expansion in tourism to Latin America", partly because the region’s improved safety reputation.
Of course some of the destinations have to be well organized in order to cope with a market that is, in some areas, rapidly expanding. In Cartagena, for example, if there are a lot of Germans on board wanting the services of a German-speaking guide, shortages can become evident. “However, we quickly adapt to the situation", says Jewgeni Patrouchev, Director of Procolumbia in Germany. Cruise passengers can often become overnight visitors.“ Most people who have been to Colombia make repeat visits", said Patrouchev.
Those who have travelled by ship along the coasts of Chile and Argentina tend to appreciate the unique natural attractions. “Such passengers are educated, pay well, do not need an on-board casino, and are happy to spend some pleasant hours in the piano bar“, according to Frederic Guillemard, Commercial Director Europe, Australis.
The Latin America Working Group (ArgeLA) has been committed to promoting tourism in this region for more than 30 years. It has over 80 members, from every branch of the industry, including many tour operators as well as airlines, and they are determined to create a better understanding of this region, with its unique culture and natural attractions.
Hall 23.b, booth 208
Press contact: Andrea Trempel
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