After several seasons of negative growth, 2017/18 looks to be the turning point, with 165 calls, up 15, and 300.000 visitors in Uruguay, (Montevideo and Punta del Este) anticipated Tourism minister Liliam Kechichian during the symbolic launching of the season in Montevideo.
The 2016/17 cruise season officially begins this week in Uruguay with the arrival of MS Zaandam and Insignia. Zandam belonging to Holland America Line with capacity for 1.432 passengers usually calls several times in Montevideo during the season.
Uruguay is expecting some 150 cruise calls this coming season 2016/17 which begins next month and represents some 300.000 visitors, according to Tourism minister Liliam Kechichian who nevertheless admitted that growth prospects are somehow behind schedule because of the high costs of reaching and operating in the port of Buenos Aires.
More than 250.000 passengers and crew members from cruise vessels visited Uruguay during the three months extending from November to January, according to the latest release from the country's Ministry of Tourism. The number of calls in Montevideo during that period was 58, with 156.100 people of which 112.400 (72%) came ashore.
Uruguayan Tourism ministry officials announced that the country expects 170 calls from cruise vessels this coming season which is scheduled to begin 6 November and extend until 10 April 2016.
The 2014/15 cruise season was not encouraging for Uruguay which reported a drop in the number of vessels calling; passenger landings and money spent by the industry and visitors, according to the official assessment of the season presented by Tourism ministry officials and other government offices involved in the different operations.
Uruguay will be receiving fifty cruise calls less this 2014/15 season, which is 26% down compared to a year ago, revealed the country's Deputy Tourism and Sports minister, Antonio Carambula during the official launching of the season. This means Montevideo will be hosting 104 calls and Punta del Este, 70, compared to the 237 between both terminals (121 and 116) in 2013/14.
Uruguay expects a slowing down of cruise activity this season, probably in the range of 10% less vessel calls, particularly in Punta del Este, because of logistics problems with the circuits. However this will be partly compensated by the two Costa Cruise company vessels that will be operating from Montevideo as the starting point and end of South Atlantic tours.
A significant drop in the number of calls and visitors is forecasted for this coming 2014/15 cruise season in Uruguay, according to tourism officials. While in the last season Uruguay received 238 cruise calls, beginning November the number is expected to drop to 187, this apparently because of the very high costs in the ports of Buenos Aires and Brazilian terminals.
During the 2013/14 season, 237 cruise vessels called in Uruguay's two main ports, Montevideo and Punta del Este, with 409.367 visitors, a 6,3% increase in calls over the previous season, according to a report released by the country's presidential web-site.