Friday, 13 December 2013

Colombia Reels In Thomson

By Editor Simon Veness

The tourism board of Colombia has joined the growing band of Caribbean cruise organisations to stage a big push for more ship visits, with the announcement of a return to the country by Thomson Cruises.

Following the recent promotion of the port of Santo Domingo by the tourism ministry of the Dominican Republic (see our recent blog on this link), Colombia is now firmly in the spotlight for a cruise boost in 2014 and beyond.

Proexport Colombia - the country's tourism agency - and Thomson Holidays got together in London this week to reveal that, after a three-year hiatus, the Thomson Dream will start calls in Cartagena once more, adding still further to the country's cruise business revival.

The 1,506-passenger ship will sail from Montego Bay, Jamaica, on regular seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean from January-March 2015, with a full itinerary to Panama and Costa Rica as well as Cartagena. 

President of Proexport Colombia, Maria Claudia Lacouture, explained: "According to estimates by Thomson Cruises, 99% of passengers will come from Europe. This is a market that we have been exploring for the promotion of the cruises sector and on which we will place special emphasis in 2014 to increase the number of international travelers to the country."

Historic Cartagena is one of the Caribbean's oldest cities, and visitors will be able to experience the cobblestone streets; follow in the footsteps of Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez; or just enjoy the great variety of local restaurants and cafes.

During the 2012/13 season, 275,662 cruise passengers arrived at Colombian ports, representing an increase of 5.9% over 2011/12, and other recent developments include the announcement of MSC Cruises bringing its new mega-ship MSC Divina to the Cartagena in 2014. In addition, Spanish line Pullmantur expanded its ship capacity in Colombia with the Monarch, which arrived for the first time earlier this year.

More info: visit www.colombia.travel/en/; for Thomson Cruises, call 0871 231 4691 or visit www.thomson.co.uk/cruise.html.

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