Puerto Rico aims to become Caribbean cruise industry base


SAN JUAN – The director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, a state agency known by the initials CTPR, has launched a series of meetings with directors of cruise lines with the goal of making the U.S. commonwealth the Caribbean base for the industry.

Jaime Lopez said that with this project he plans to make the island in the next three years one of the chief Caribbean ports for the sector, according to the CTPR’s 2009-2013 Strategic Plan.

He decried as inacceptable that Puerto Rico, with the infrastructure and degree of economic development it has, occupies only fifth place as a port of call for Caribbean cruises after Cozumel, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, St. Martin and Jamaica.

Lopez also said that the increase of air traffic to the island is closely related to that of cruise ships.

The CTPR director said that Puerto Rico since 2004 has lost eight cruise lines that used San Juan as their center of operations in the Caribbean.

Lopez said he will not abandon his quest to make Puerto Rico the principal base for Caribbean cruise lines, a project he plans to back with an advertising budget of close to $20 million.