Cruise tourism got off to a good start here with the arrival of the first ship with more than three thousand passengers on board, which had an immediate economic impact on this southern province of the DR.
The expected take-off and development of the province of Pedernales and the Enriquillo region as a tourist destination is already a reality with the arrival this Thursday of the first cruise ship at the Cabo Rojo Port.
The arrival ceremony of the Norwegian Pearl, of the Norwegian Cruise Line, with capacity for 2,394 passengers and 1,072 crew members, was headed by President Luis Abinader, the Minister of Tourism, David Collado and the executive director of the Dominican Port Authority, Jean Luis Rodriguez.
The Port of Cabo Rojo, in charge of ITM Group, is ready in its first phase of construction to receive cruise ships with capacity for 3,000 passengers and confirms that “Pearl” docked at a pier of 202 linear meters with a mooring dock, meeting all the conditions to receive several vessels at the same time.
President Abinader, in welcoming the 2,555 cruise passengers who departed from Miami, Florida, said loudly that the take-off of the south is unstoppable and that it is the beginning of change in the entire region.
He said that “in 5 years Pedernales will have changed for good and forever, in 10 years it will be unrecognizable and in 20 years it will be a model of economic and social study for the entire region”.
Minister Collado, for his part, said that what the cruise industry is experiencing today is due to the joint work of the public-private sector and the vision of President Luis Abinader to open the port Taino Bay, which together with Amber Cove have contributed to double the number of visitors via cruise ships in 2023 to 2.2 million cruise passengers.
He indicated that the arrival of this first cruise ship in Pedernales marks the unstoppable take-off of the tourism industry in the southern region of the country.
“This is the before and after for tourism and the economic development of Pedernales and the entire Enriquillo region”, said Collado.
Jean Luis Rodríguez, director of the Dominican Port Authority (APORDOM), said that “this port will not only be a gateway for cruise passengers, but also a catalyst for sustainable development, generating jobs, strengthening the local economy and providing a prospect of prosperity for the entire community”.
Sigmund Freund, director of the Public-Private Partnership stated that the arrival of the enormous Norwegian Pearl is the beginning of a new story of opportunity and prosperity, a dream come true that the people of Pedernalenses have been waiting for for years.
The cruise passengers, on their descent through this tourist pier, arrived at the Oasis Plaza, finding a whole beach area, full of landscaping, natural beauty and biodiversity.
In order for the visitors to live an unforgettable experience, the Ministry of Tourism, in alliance with Sur Futuro, created a cultural route in the municipality of Pedernales, where the cruise passengers enjoyed gastronomic, folkloric and handicraft activities, impacting more than 350 community members from all over the region.
In addition, the ITM group offered boat excursions throughout the beach area, adventure buggies with tours of the Pelempito area, Laguna de Oviedo, as well as enjoying the nature and scenery offered by the province.
Likewise, in alliance between MITUR and Port Cabo Rojo, in order to improve the tourist image of Pedernales, several institutions and groups of young natives of the province have joined forces to develop street cleaning programs, solid waste removal in public spaces, painting of the facades of houses, stores and murals by local artists in several places such as the Church of Pedernales and the Hernando Gorjón Elementary School, near the boardwalk.
During this first phase of construction of Puerto Cabo Rojo, 550 direct jobs and more than 1,500 indirect jobs were generated, under the commitment to offer opportunities for decent employment and economic development to the community of Pedernales and the Enriquillo region.
This historic event, with the arrival of the first cruise ship in Pedernales, takes place just days after the DR reached the goal of 10 million visitors, consolidating the country as the most important cruise destination in the Caribbean.
With an investment of close to US$100 million, this cruise terminal is projected to receive up to one million cruise passengers per year, once all phases are completed.
The destination will receive cruise ships from the world’s most important companies such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corporation, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC and Virgin Voyages, among others.