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The agenda of the event, considered the most important affair of this tourism sector that will embark more than 20 million passengers around the world in 2013, has planned seminars and workshops to be given by leading representatives of the industry, including Michele Paige, Chairperson of the FCCA, the association created in 1994, which currently brings together the 15 lines that control more than 89.6% of the operation in the world and 73.5% in Colombia, according to data of the 2012-2013 season.
The CEOs of some of these lines will be part of the list of panelists, including Gerard Cahill of the Carnival Cruise Line, Kevin Sheehan of the Norwegian Cruise Line and Richard Fain of Royal Caribbean Cruises. They will provide an overview of the present and future of their companies, some of which, in addition to studying the acquisition of new vessels to carry more passengers and make transatlantic travel easier, are always seeking new places to take their ships.
Although Colombia is already receiving cruise ships of these lines and has served as a port of departure for Royal Caribbean Cruises since 2008, through Proexport, an entity dedicated to promoting international tourism, the country wants to make this event a showcase to exhibit what domestic port cities can offer to those visiting the country for a few hours. The objective is to awaken the interest of those who make decisions in the industry to increase the number of cruise ships docking in the country, as well as the capacity thereof and hence, the number of visitors.
This is a unique opportunity, not only to exhibit Colombia before the most important executives of the industry as the great destination that it is
"This is a unique opportunity, not only to exhibit Colombia before the most important executives of the industry as the great destination that it is, but also to enable local entrepreneurs to get to know the needs and requirements of a market that has been growing steadily, which represented USD 33.4 million in revenue in 2012," said Maria Claudia Lacouture, Proexport president and leader of the delegation that was awarded the venue of this important conference in 2011.
Almost one thousand people will make up the audience to which shipping line entrepreneurs will speak, and they will learn about the trends that set the tone in this industry that, according to studies by the FCCA, have reported an average annual growth of 7.2% since 1980.
They will explain, for instance, the reason for cruise passengers to come back to vacation in a destination they visited during their journey by sea, why the destinations at which a cruise ship docks influences travelers' decision on itineraries, or the strategy being developed by cruise lines to take advantage of the now frequent appearance of our ports of destination.
The academic sessions, which will also discuss aspects on customer service and maritime safety, are part of an extensive program that includes a commercial sample, where participants will exhibit their products, services and destinations. At the same time, ports, tour operators, tourist authorities and agencies for the promotion of Latin America and the Caribbean will hold business meetings.