PORTS + POLITICS: Cruise Ships Are a Vital Part of Our Economy and Regional Security

Restarting the cruise industry, with proper safety protocols in place, is an integral part of ensuring the massive trade and cargo operations continue to thrive to and from PortMiami – and the rest of the Western Hemisphere – as the cruise industry could help restore some of the fragile economies that are finally beginning to regain stability.

By U.S. Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27)

As the daughter of political refugees who fled from the brutal Castro regime, I could have never imagined that I would one day represent the very same community that welcomed my parents with open arms in the U.S. Congress. Miami gave my family and my community refuge when we needed it most. Our city is a beacon of hope and land of opportunity for those fleeing oppression around the world. Florida’s 27th District is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and serving as its Congresswoman is the honor of a lifetime. I can promise you this – if you visit once, you will certainly come back.

Miami is uniquely situated as a primary trade, tourism and economic conduit between the United States, at large, and our neighbors to the south. My district includes PortMiami, which is recognized as both the “Cruise Capital of the World” and the “Cargo Gateway of the Americas.” The economic prowess of this port cannot be overemphasized. With a total economic impact of $43 billion, PortMiami supports 334,000 jobs in South Florida, carries more than 1 million cargo crates across the globe, and attracts well over 5 million cruise ship passengers per year when ships are sailing.

In Florida, we are no stranger to natural disasters – but COVID-19 has been a challenge of epic proportions. With cruise operations ground to a halt for almost a year now, the jobs and livelihoods of Floridians who support this industry have been devastated. We not only have direct suppliers and retailers that sustain the supply chain for cruise ship operations, but this affects the entire hospitality industry in South Florida – hotels, restaurants, entertainment, airlines, and countless other businesses.

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