Puerto Rico to host 2011 FCCA conference and tradeshow

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico, the major Caribbean homeport, will be the host of the 18th annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference and Tradeshow, to be held in early October of 2011.

The FCCA Conference and Tradeshow is the only event where the top decision makers from the 15 FCCA member cruise lines come together to share ideas and discuss industry trends.

The conference brings together over 1,200 members, including cruise executives, government officials, suppliers, tour operators and other important industry members. It is the most important event for developing relationships with the cruise industry and the destinations’ private and public sectors, along with any company or product that can be benefitted by the industry.

The cruise industry is a major economic driver for Puerto Rico.

"The cruise industry has a yearly economic impact of more than $240 million and generates close to 7,000 jobs. Puerto Rico’s Economic Model for a New Economy recognizes the importance of this industry and identifies key initiatives to improve and expand its economic impact on the island," said Jose Perez-Riera, secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico recognizes that being host of the FCCA Conference and Tradeshow will positively impact its cruise industry development.

"We feel honored that the FCCA selected us as host for this key event for the Caribbean region. All public sector components worked together towards achieving this, and it will have, without doubt, great benefits for Puerto Rico. We will be able to showcase our port infrastructure and product offering to the cruise industry, and we will be able to attract more cruise ships," said the executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, Alberto Escudero.

Michele Paige, president of the FCCA, said, "We’re looking forward to bringing leaders from the cruise industry to San Juan so that they can experience everything that Puerto Rico has put into place. The cruise industry has partnered with Puerto Rico for the operational logistics on the waterfront plans, new tour opportunities and other infrastructural projects. It will be great to see these endeavors completed, along with the other developments that Puerto Rico is undergoing. We also believe that their fully dedicated convention center will provide the perfect setting for the Conference."

Puerto Rico currently receives more than 1.2 million cruise passengers on a yearly basis along its ports of San Juan, Ponce, and Mayaguez. San Juan is Puerto Rico’s major cruise port, where cruise passengers arrive at the Old City, described by Conde Nast as a "Treasure in a Teacup".

The government of Puerto Rico is taking measures to maintain its position as a leader Caribbean cruise port. For example, it has unveiled a major urban revitalization project of the San Juan Waterfront, which integrates dynamic spaces for community, residential, commercial, tourists, and recreation.

Also, major new attractions have opened to the public, like Toro Verde, an eco-touristic park that has the second longest zipline of the World, and the New York Trapeze School is scheduled to inaugurate at the waterfront before the upcoming high season of 2011.

"Our efforts are geared towards improving our product offering, while at the same time promoting our attributes. Being host of the FCCA Convention will most certainly be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to our cruise partners how Puerto Rico does it better," said Mario Gonzalez La Fuente, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

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