Chile’s Valparaiso port authorities confirmed that 15 cruise voyages that were planning to visit the port next season have now been suspended. Making matters even worse, vacation cruise companies Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Discovery confirmed they no longer plan to dock in Chile because of high operational costs.
The Valparaíso Port Authority (EPV) blamed the fall in business on the global economic crisis. Most passengers on the cruise ships come from the United States and Europe – the two places hit hardest financially.
This announced reduction translates to a fall of between 10 and 30% in the number of ships docking and tourists vacationing in Valparaíso. More than 141,000 travellers visited the port this season and kept local hotels booked throughout this unusually hot month. The reductions will have ramifications for all businesses in the area which benefit from overnight stays and money spent during day excursions.
To date, only 33 ships have confirmed their visit to Valparaíso next season. Fares for cruises in South America have fallen by around 50% this year and fares for next year continue to be heavily discounted – and not just for the slow winter season.
“It is already noticeable that this year sales are down,” said Victor Venegas of Destination Management Chile. “Perhaps people are opting for holidays on-land, which are more economical and include less services.” Santiago Times