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Latest Fact Finding 30 Report Examines Impacts to Cruise Industry in Gulf Coast Ports

A report on the Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Cruise Industry in the Gulf Coast region was released today by Commissioner Louis E. Sola.  It is the latest Interim Report issued as part of the Fact Finding 30 investigation he is leading.

In the report, Commissioner Sola examines how cessation of cruise operations have affected the cities of Galveston, Mobile, and New Orleans.

“My meetings in Galveston, with both port executives and labor leaders, personalized the hard economic hit suffered because of lost cruise business. More than half of the port’s revenue is tied to cruising.  That is a big loss and an understandable motivation for the priority the port community has put to creating the conditions for safe cruising out of Galveston.  Even for cities such as New Orleans and Mobile, where cruising is a less significant part of the port or tourism business, the loss of millions of dollars of income is not without bite,” said Commissioner Sola.

This is the third, region-specific Interim Report issued by Commissioner Sola.  Previous reports have examined the Pacific Northwest and Florida.

“The cruise industry represents a significant part of the tourism and travel sectors of the American economy.  Pleasure cruising, directly and indirectly, generates significant income for businesses and communities across the United States.  The efforts port authorities and private companies are making in preparation for the safe resumption of sailing are invaluable to getting Americans back to work and allowing them to again provide for their families,” said Commissioner Sola.

Commissioner Sola noted he was particularly impressed by the measures taken by the Port of Galveston, which include working with the Galveston County Health District and the University of Texas Medical Branch, to establish debarkation procedures for any passengers or crew showing symptoms of infection. Additionally, the port’s Infectious Disease Response Team facilitates ongoing discussion and coordination among more than one dozen different local, state, and federal agencies.  The team is being used to ensure awareness of interagency protocols for handling infectious diseases in the Houston/Galveston area and to plan for the safe resumption of cruise operations from a public health perspective.  The efforts of the team include the use of tabletop exercises to test plans and systems.

The next phase of Fact Finding 30 will focus on the West Coast and Pacific Ocean.  A report detailing the findings is expected to be released in early 2021.

Fact Finding 30 was initiated in April of this year.