[Travel Daily News] MIRAMAR, FL – The cruise industry embarked in Panama City last week with a clear message: the cruise industry is moving full steam ahead with its restart and looking for new opportunities to partner with and invest in destinations and stakeholders for long-term mutual success. That message rang throughout the FCCA Cruise Conference, with echoes of the focus being placed by top executives of FCCA Member Lines, which represent more than 90 percent of the global ocean cruising capacity, on events and meetings like those being coordinated by Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).
“We cannot be more honored by the continued support of our Member Lines and partners throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America,” said Michele Paige, president, FCCA. “Constant mutual exchanges between those parties have propelled cruising’s restart in our partner destinations, and we are proud that we could again bring together cruise executives and stakeholders at our keynote event to have these exchanges in person and further develop business and relationships.”
“For Panama it was an honor to have hosted this historical event, receiving the most influential leaders of the cruise industry in our brand-new convention center,” said Ivan Eskildsen, Minister of Tourism, Government of Panama. “Eighteen months into the pandemic, the Conference was taken as an opportunity to collaborate on and transform this important sector, relaunching its new path in the midst of relevant changes in the preferences and expectations of travelers.”
Nearly 400 attendees joined 60 high-level cruise executives from FCCA Member Lines for the Conference, which was a live and fully vaccinated event that took place in the new Panama Convention Center from October 18-21 and featured a series of meetings, workshops and networking functions. The event’s revamped format put one-on-one meetings on the main stage, with preset 15-minute sessions with participating executives to present goods and services.
Attendees had other ample opportunities to learn from and build business with cruise executives who decide where ships call, what is sold and used onboard, and how to invest in destination products and developments. Networking functions brought together the groups in more casual environments, and workshops led by key cruise executives -including Chairmen, Presidents and CEOs- concentrated on topics from navigating the ‘new normal’ to developing all-encompassing and far-reaching plans, with attendees’ needs taking the spotlight through the workshops encouraging audience input.
Additionally, the event featured private meetings including the Heads of State Forum, which joined Member Line Chairmen, Presidents and CEOs along with destination Ministers of Tourism and Prime Ministers, and an exclusive function for Panamanian representatives and cruise executives.
Panama also pulled out all the stops to showcase its products and cruise tourism potential to the prestigious audience. It offered some of the best to see, eat and hear in the destination while displaying what it can offer not only cruise guests, but also cruise ships in terms of provisioning and homeporting ability – including through exclusive preview tours for cruise executives to see the new Amador cruise port and developments in the Colon 2000 port, such as a new duty-free shopping and leisure complex.
The Conference is one of many events that FCCA coordinates for its partners and Member Lines to stay at the forefront of information about both the cruise industry and stakeholders’ companies and destinations, along with developing bilateral relationships that lead to success for all – something more important than ever as cruise lines look to opportunities like longer stays, multi-port calls and homeporting, along with purchasing more goods directly from destinations.
FCCA Platinum Members will soon see business hit high gears on the high seas at the annual FCCA PAMAC Cruise Summit, taking place December 10-13 on board Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas. Plans are also currently in the works for the land-based annual PAMAC Conference.
“FCCA Platinum Membership events are essential to both the members and cruise line representatives,” said Micky Arison, Chairman, Carnival Corporation & plc and the FCCA. “They join some of the industry’s most influential decision makers with significant stakeholders from the Caribbean and Latin America, which leads to positive developments for all parties.”