Start of the cruise season in Puerto Colon 2000
During this season, from October 2018 to May 2019, 153 cruise ships of the lines of Holland, Princess Cruise, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, among others, that will come from the United States and Europe from the Aida Mar lines will arrive at this port. of the German shipping company Aida Cruises, and Tui also of the German group, one of the largest tour operators in the world, which made its debut in the Panamanian market on November 21, 2016, with the arrival of the cruise ship Mein Schiff 4, with more of 3 thousand passengers. In the previous season TUI made 10 trips, from November 2016 to April 2017, with 3 thousand 500 passengers on board each departure, and for the 2018-2019 season it is scheduled to repeat the same number of trips, as part of its service for the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, the cruises of the cruise ship Aida Cruises has more than 10 years of berthing in Puerto Colón 2000, for this season has contemplated making five. Pullmantur disembarks in Puerto Colón 2000 every Friday with passengers mostly Mexican, Costa Rican and Brazilian, who choose to know the Canal, Free Zone and go shopping. At year 52 ships of this line dock with approximately 160,000 passengers. The shipping company already made a reservation in port until 2021, informed the manager of Puerto Colón 2000, Fernando Alonso, and said that during the cruise season the arrival of more than 300 thousand cruise passengers is expected. With respect to Renovación Colón, he pointed out that every renewed city not only helps to give more comfort to tourists but also to its inhabitants. "The company continues to believe in Columbus and therefore began the construction of the new square" Duty Free Colon 2000, which will have the best shops and restaurants in the country, "which will surely take advantage of national and local tourists having a good place to go in Colón Puerto Libre".
For its part, the general manager of the Colon Free Zone, Manuel Grimaldo, was optimistic that cruise passengers can enter the free zone to make purchases, "we have great expectations for this season, and open the doors to shopping tourism with the interoceanic transit of visitors from different parts of the world, which will help to continue reactivating the economy in the area ". He indicated that the statistics of the free zone account for the entry of 8,352 entries of tourists from January to June 2018, compared to 6,718 visits of the same period, but of 2017.
Gina Valderrama, director of Tourism Investments of the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), noted that Pullmantur has its Home Port in Puerto Colón 2000, with weekly trips representing a difference of 11 thousand more cruise passengers compared to last year. The cruise market is expanding not only from the United States - he said - but also from Europe, travelers who are interested in knowing Panama. "This year Neopanamax cruises will need to travel through the Canal, which this season is waiting for the passage of 234 cruises.
The economic impact increases each season, he said. In the 2016-2017 season, 306,720 cruise passengers disembarked, with expenses of B / .38.3 million; in 2017-2018 it was 361,774, with expenses of B / .45.2 million. The projections are good, because there are more cruise lines that have included Panama in their itineraries and this will increase with the Panama Cruise Terminal, which is built in Amador with an investment of B / .165 million, with two Docks in which two cruise ships with a capacity of up to five thousand passengers each will be able to dock simultaneously. He added that 16 cruise ships will be docked in November and tourists will have the opportunity to appreciate the historic Government Building, which is part of the Colón Renovation Project, which by then will be completely restored.
Janelle K. Lazarus, regional ATP in Colón, said that the European tourist but also makes purchases is more inclined to know the culture of indigenous peoples, Canal, ecology and historical places, while the Latin American prefers to go shopping.
According to the official, a cruise passenger, who stays 10 to 12 hours in the country, spends approximately B / .130.00, in transportation, food, visits to historical sites and purchases. "Transportation, tourist guides, tour operators, peddlers, artisans, street vendors, supermarkets and even stores benefit from the economic movement during the cruise seasons," he said.