The 26th Annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from October 21 to 25, 2019. The FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show is the largest event of its kind in the region. The delegation from the Turks & Caicos Islands included Deputy Chairman Stefan Correy Forbes, Board Member John Hilton, Acting Director of Tourism Mary Lightbourne and Product Development Officer Candesha Mills.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a member of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the trade association representing the mutual interests between the cruise industry, destinations and stakeholders in the Caribbean and Latin America. FCCA hosts the annual conference and trade show which the Turks & Caicos Islands has participated in for several years. The conference offered participants a series of meetings, workshops, networking opportunities with high-level executives from FCCA Member Lines, which operate about 200 vessels and 95 percent of the global ocean cruising capacity.
Acting Director of Tourism Mary Lightbourne commented, “The cruise industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands continues to see impressive growth. It is important for the Tourist Board to attend cruise industry events such as FCCA. Cruise arrivals accounted for the majority of the visitor population in 2018, and showed an increase of 23% over the prior year which was the highest number of cruise passengers ever; with ships carrying an average capacity of 95%. In 2018 the Grand Turk Cruise Port welcomed 1,021,741 cruise passengers. One of the highlights of the conference was the workshop on Incident Response which covered best practices for responding to cruise related incidents and the importance of responding within the first twelve hours. Our Turks and Caicos team benefited from several sessions including one which focused on the rise in luxury cruising. Our team will now strategize on how the Turks and Caicos Islands can position the destination to capitalize on this growing market. We held a number of meetings with key stakeholders including the AQUILA Center for Cruise Excellence and we explored opportunities for customer service training for cruise industry frontline employees. Additionally we met with the Director of FCCA and explored options for greater collaboration through enhanced membership opportunities. We were also excited for the opportunity to showcase the destination at the Trade Show”.
This year’s conference was attended by over 1,500 delegates comprised of Prime Ministers and Ministers responsible for Tourism, Directors of Tourism, Destination Representatives, Tour Companies, Marketing and Promotional Companies and executives from various major cruise lines.