Alan Lam reports
Having recently reduced its exposure to Latin America on account of the softening of that market outlook and re-focused its business on Spain, Pullmantur Cruises seems to have reversed its strategy yet again and decided to increase its capacity deployment in Latin America.
As the market in Spain fails to stage a desirable recovery, the line will increase its Latin America capacity by 40% towards the end of this year. “Latin America is a region extremely important for Pullmantur,” said José Blanco, VP Commercial of Pullmantur Group. “For this reason we are going to increase our capacity in this market year round.”
According to Blanco, the region represents an enormous opportunity for the group despite having suffered various economic challenges that impact on its people’s desire and ability to travel.
In support of this strategy, the group underlines that it needs to “democratize” its products and that cruise is a “choice form of travel”, which enables passengers to see many places in a relatively short time.
For the 2016-2017 season, Pullmantur offers three visa-free itineraries from four Caribbean ports of embarkation - namely Cartagena de Indias, Puerto Limón, Santo Domingo, and Colón.
This second strategic refocus in as many years comes only a month after the group having appointed Richard Vogel as it new President and CEO. It is not unreasonable to assume that this new emphasis is built on the hope of a Caribbean revival - partly because of the refreshed interest in this region due to the thaw in Cuba-U.S. relations - in the wake of the continuing European cruise market stagnation.
“The Caribbean is an excellent destination,” said Blanco, “the most important in the world, not only in terms of cruise passenger numbers, but also its cultural, beach and gastronomical attractions.”