Chile expects a 30% increase in cruise vessel calls this 2012/13 season
Chile is expecting an increase of 30% in the number of cruise vessels calls this coming season with Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas receiving the most, said the country’s Under Secretary for Tourism Jacqueline Plass.
“We are anticipating a growth of 30% in the number of calls this coming cruise season which added to the 27% of the last season, 2011/12, is very good news and should have us all very happy”, said Ms Plass.
Asked about last season’s incident at Puerto Chacabuco when a cruise vessel was turned back because of a local conflict in the Aysen region, which also discouraged the visit of other vessels, Ms Plass said that the industry “sees these situations as absolutely isolated incidents” since they have “the perception that Chile is a serious country, a country in which they can rely”.
Ms Plass said that on average the cruise landing passengers represent 100 to 120 US dollars per capita for the Chilean economy.
The cruise industry in recent years had cancelled calls along the Chilean coast because since the privatization of casinos the visiting vessels were not allowed to operate casinos while sailing in territorial waters.
Recent legislation establishing that cruise vessels under certain conditions can effectively operate their casinos while sailing in Chilean waters was expected to turn the tide.
However so far and according to Chile’s regulators of the Casinos and other games office, SCJ, has received no request from foreign cruise companies to operate casinos on their vessels.
But the office of Ms Plass pointed out that there was an original “misunderstanding” since cruise vessels must register before the Chilean Office of Maritime Territory and Merchant Navy which extends a document that enables the companies to have access to Chilean waters.
“Well it is this same document that the cruise companies must present for the casino licensing, but they believed a second document before the SCJ was needed. So we are helping them to speed up the process”, admitted Ms Plass.