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GALVESTON, TX (February 2, 2018) - The Galveston Island Port of Call Committee, created in mid-2017 by the Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves at the request of Board Chairman E.L. “Ted” O’Rourke, met on Tuesday, January 31, with Stefano Borzone, President of Metro Cruise Services LLC and Juan C. Trescastro, Senior Vice President – Business Development of Metro Cruise Services, to discuss cruise ports of call, itinerary planning and the factors that influence cruise lines in their decisions to call at destination ports. Prior to joining Metro Cruise Services, Mr. Trescastro was Vice President, Land Operations & Guest Port Services for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises. The Port of Call Committee is comprised of members of the Wharves Board, led by Wharves Board Vice Chairman Albert Shannon, the Port of Galveston’s new Port Director/CEO Rodger Rees, Port staff and prominent business owners, officials and representatives from the Galveston Park Board of Trustees, Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The 12-member committee discussed future branding and marketing initiatives, excursion development, outreach to cruise lines and reported on the development of the implementation of a strategic business plan to encourage passengers to go ashore and purchase tours, visit gift shops and restaurants and explore downtown.
“We are working together to make Galveston a popular destination by encouraging cruise lines to call here allowing their passengers to spend a full day and night exploring the island and all the magnificent cultural and historical sites that Galveston has to offer, “ said Ted O’Rourke, Chairman of the Wharves Board.
The committee members meet once a month. Members include Kelly de Schaun, executive director of the Park Board of Trustees; Gina Spagnola, president of the Galveston Island Regional Chamber of Commerce; business owners Keith Bassett, Mike Dean and Ross Grief; former Park Board trustee William “Buzz” Elton; Maureen Patton, executive director, Grand 1894 Opera House; John Peterlin, Port of Galveston Senior Director of Marketing and Administration; Joe Rozier, Mitchell Properties; and Quinn Bussey, Landry’s Inc.
The Port of Galveston has had some recent success in attracting port of call ships. On April 3, 2017, the MS Amadea, operated by Phoenix Reisen, a Germany-based travel agency that also operates a fleet of cruise ships, chose Galveston as its first U.S. port of call on their worldwide itinerary. The four-star rated ship arrived with approximately 600 passengers and 200 crew members on board. Staff members from the Port of Galveston, Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and The Grand 1894 Opera House were on hand to welcome passengers and distribute information. Several shore excursions were offered to cruise passengers including a visit to Moody Gardens and tours of Space Center Houston. Passengers were also offered the opportunity to discover the many shopping and entertainment possibilities of the Historic Downtown Strand Seaport District.
The Port of Galveston maintains its ranking as the fourth busiest cruise port in the nation. Cruise activity generated $58.4 million in local passenger on-shore spending and another $19.1 million in services provided at the port in 2016. Cruise operations also created 1,232 direct jobs, according to a 2016 report produced by Martin and Associates.
About the Port of Galveston
The Port of Galveston is the region’s gateway to the Gulf for cruise ships and international trade. Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay, the Port leases and maintains facilities on both Galveston Island and Pelican Island. The Galveston Island operations are a diversified mix of cargo including roll on-roll-off cargo, dry bulk, export grain, refrigerated fruit, general cargo, and project cargo. In addition, the Port currently handles over 1.8 million cruise passengers annually. The Port’s Pelican Island facilities are comprised of a combination of an active ship and rig repair facility, a liquid bulk operation, facilities that support the offshore exploration and production business, and two parcels of undeveloped property. The Port is a self-supporting enterprise utility of the City of Galveston with operating revenues of approximately $34.5 million. It does not rely on tax dollars for operations.