Puerto Rico Receives New Cruise Ship

Puerto Rico welcomed a new cruise ship that it hopes will bring in $3.6 million in revenue this season.

Commerce and Economic Development Secretary José Pérez-Riera said the Celebrity Silhouette ship that docked on the island for the first time Saturday can accommodate 2,850 passengers.

Saturday's announcement comes a day after a report stated that while more tourists are visiting Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands the amount of money being spent there has fallen.

Analysts attribute the rising number of visitors to more cruise ships and flights to the region, and people taking trips they had postponed because of the economic crisis. But when they get to their destination, Caribbean officials say, tourists are spending less.

"The bodies are traveling, obviously, but the spending is clearly impacted," said Josef Forstmayr, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Organization. "The larger destinations have it a little easier. They have more resources, they get better airlift, they have better products."

Caribbean countries such as the Bahamas, St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic announced a record number of visitors last year. Caribbean tourism officials hope to surpass the more than 23 million visitors reported last year this winter season.

Pérez-Riera said the U.S. Caribbean territory has seen a drop in cruise ship arrivals in the previous four years. About 535,000 cruise ship passengers visited Puerto Rico from January to April of this year, a nearly one percent drop compared to the same period last year.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press. 

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