Geographic Factors for Managing Cruise Ship Destination Port to Attraction Passenger Transfer in the Caribbean Region
- 1Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
- 2Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
- 3Tourism and Events Management, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
Keywords: cruise ship tourism, port facility preparedness, Caribbean Sea, nautical charting, hydrography, nautical cartography, port infrastructure
Abstract. The Cruise Line industry (CLI) is working on plans to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19. Along with the expected benefits of a post COVID19 surge in cruise tourism, destination ports have an opportunity to mitigate potential impacts that come with the tourist economy. In this study, we expand on our previous work on four CLI destination sites (two in the Caribbean and two meso-American) to a larger regional study area in the Caribbean Sea and investigate the sustainability of destination marine infrastructure and near port transportation resilience. Twenty- Eight destinations were analyzed in the study. All the CLI destinations ports in the study are considered mature for cruise tourism and have tourist attractions of interest (including historic, natural, shopping, and other areas with sociocultural authenticity), which can be reached during a one day ship visit. An analysis of the marine traffic and geographic settings provides a more complete picture on key parameters that can potentially impact the commerce and livelihoods of local communities near destination ports. The results of the study also provide potential solutions for mitigating these impacts. As a baseline for fully operational cruise industry in the Caribbean Sea, the 2019 cruise year was analyzed since it was the last full year without impact from COVID-19. This paper offers a wider empirical view of CLI impacts on the Caribbean region once the industry resumes to full capacity following the COVID-19 pandemic, and it presents results and recommendations to build a framework for continued study of CLI sustainability.