Punta Arenas port authorities announced over the weekend that they expect the 2021/22 cruise season to begin next 19 October when “Sylvia Earle” calls at Chile's extreme south terminal. She will be the first of some 226 calls, so far, from forty international cruise vessels to which must be added those from domestic companies.
The manager of the Austral Port administration, Rodrigo Pommiez said the season hopefully will extend until next April, and revealed that the company has received many visit requests, although the vessels are smaller than those which visited last time, two years ago in 2019, and most are oriented to Antarctica cruises.
We are working with sanitary and other government offices to ensure that the protocols to be implemented are correct and following prevailing global rules. Most possibly we could also become a homeport for some cruise lines, and we are doing our best to coordinate efforts, indicated Pommiez.
He admitted having visited Puerto Williams, together with his Services Manage, Marcela Mansilla to ensure in situ that cruises can also operate there.
Last week neighbouring Ushuaia in the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego announced that they are preparing to receive some 68 vessels and almost 500 calls this coming 20nta Arenas population and the implementation of necessary measures to ensure the pandemic is under control, facilitating the access and exit of tourists is critical, if we want to ensure that the tourism industry does not face a second season of no vessels, of no activities.21/22 season.
However, vaccination of the PuNicolas Milovic who represents DMC in Punta Arenas, a company that specializes in international services for cruise tourism tours is hoping for a promising season.
Vaccination so far has helped to drastically drop contagions, which is essential for opening borders, but at the same time, there is some uncertainty since the cruise season is beginning in Europe and North America, Alaska, with more vessels operating. We have to keep track of the protocols agreed by the companies with the different health authorities of those countries. I believe these factors will be critical at the moment of deciding on destinations, indicated Milovic.
Certainly much will depend on whether passengers are demanded to comply with a quarantine period when coming to Chile, and hopefully they will be aware or well informed of the existing conditions.
Milovic said his company has been in standing contact with Chilean tourism and sanitary authorities and has participated in the Conosur Ports Corporation meetings, which includes all South American ports receiving cruise calls, and in our case, we include Magallanes Region
Nicolas Paulsen, from Antarctic Punta Arenas Logistic association which brings together companies involved in logistic services for Antarctica operations said that some of the companies which normally work with Ushuaia have also been asking about possible operations from Magallanes ports.
Paulsen insisted on the sanitary situation of Chile and Magallanes in particular. The vaccination process both in the country and the region seems to be advancing strongly so hopefully by next October when the cruise season is scheduled to begin, the overall situation should be much better, with data and tendencies on cases and contagions clearly improving as current information is telling us.