More than 400,000 Cruise Tourists to Visit Uruguay

Montevideo, Dec 30. -The Uruguayan Ministry of Tourism and Sports (Minturd) has scheduled the arrival of 400,000 people by cruise ships, with a program of 230 ships, including one coming from Japan, for 2012.If the number of ships is completed, there would be 30 ships more compared to total arrivals in the previous season in the ports of Montevideo and Punta del Este, 83.8 miles from the Uruguayan capital.

Both ports are considered among the most important in the region and the continent, with a large movement of tourists and crews, said Hector Lescano, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Uruguay.

"These thousands of people consume Uruguayan gastronomy, buy handicrafts, foods, beverages in our country, increasing jobs for many of our citizens, and helping with money collection. All seems to indicate there will be a very good tourist season," said Lescano.

"The last tourist season was successful, but we aspire to reach between 7 and 10 percent more than the previous one," he added.

Lescano said the Ministry is working hard on the steps for entry to Uruguay, in coordination with the different ministries and mayor offices, to avoid delays in the international bridges and airports.

He recalled that the sector is generating 60,000 new direct jobs and the three times as many indirect jobs.

"Tourism cannot be seem a recreation season of a few days, but as something for the entire year," he stated.

The Uruguayan Interior Ministry is working intensively to guarantee security, in coordination with the Tourist Police and special programs, such as Verano Azul (Blue Summer) and Policia Communitaria (Community Police).

Lescano reasserted the concept of security in beaches, leafy glades, highways and food establishments.

"The topic is very important for our citizens," he said.

President Jose Mujica received the 3,000,000th tourist in the port of Montevideo on December 22, when a record high of foreign visitors was hit.

Mujica highlighted the benefits Uruguay receives from tourism and insisted on good treatment to visitors, and not to charge excessive prices. (Prensa Latina)