SANTIAGO – Arrivals of international cruise ship passengers in Chile increased by 35 percent in 2015-2016 over the previous season to a record 414,000, El Mercurio newspaper said Monday.
Nine Chilean ports received 217 visits by foreign-flagged cruise ships during the six months that ended March 31.
Among the factors contributing to the increase was a reduction in fees paid by operators for lighthouses and buoys, which prompted the return to southern waters of large vessels such as those of U.S.-based Norwegian Cruise Line.
Sources in the Chilean tourism sector also emphasized the impact of “international promotion” aimed at attracting more visitors to the South American nation, El Mercurio said.
The Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, or CNC, estimates that cruise ship visitors spent $80 a day on average in the northern port of Arica, with the figure rising to $120 a day in Puerto Montt, in the south.
“This means a big boost for the local economy,” CNC president Carlos Stange said.
The cruise ship sector is expected to grow between 3 percent and 4 percent worldwide next season and Chilean ports are striving to become welcoming destinations.