Punta del Este expects 120.000 cruise visitors in 2007/08
Punta del Este, Uruguay's main international seaside resort on the South Atlantic this coming summer season will be receiving 83 cruise vessels calls with an estimated 120.000 visitors, 60% increase over the 2006/2007 season.
According to local authorities in the 2005/06 season 33 cruise vessels called into Punta del Este natural bay and 53 in the 06/07 season. However Punta del Este has one setback and that is the absence of port facilities for cruise vessels to dock forcing passengers to be landed on launches in the marinas that in summer months are fully booked with some of the most expensive yachts in the River Plate, mainly from Argentines. Faced with this situation and since this summer the bay on occasions will be holding more than one cruise vessel on the same day, local authorities have granted a private company the concession of a fishermen's wharf that it to be extended a hundred meters thus offering more docking room to the launches and speeding up the whole operation. The new extension with facilities for passengers will also host tourism, migration and customs offices with the advantage that next to the jetty is an ample parking lot for buses and just across Punta del Este's main hotel and casino. Local officials estimate that passengers who effectively land in Punta del Este spend an average of 90 US dollars per capita, but equally important is the fact that high income travelers get a chance to enjoy the seaside resort and its surroundings. "Some of them have felt attracted and have returned to buy summer homes or flats", said Horacio Diaz, head of the Punta del Este Tourism Office.