South Padre Island scores high as possible cruise line port of call

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — The mission to bring more tourists to the Island by attracting the cruise ship industry is on a roll.

A report issued by SPI Cruise Group says the Island’s suitability as a Port of Call is right on target.

Their analysis finds the Island is well-positioned to be the first new U.S. port of call in a half-century.

“We have obviously hit some kind of nerve with the cruiseliners,” SPI Mayor Dennis Stahl said.

Already, three of the four major cruiseliners want to meet with him and the city manager.

He didn’t shy away from saying a cruise port won’t be built immediately.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Stahl said.

He said the plan to finally confirm the Island can become a port of call is now in place.

A floating dock and welcome center would cost the Island upwards of $24 million to $30 million.

Preliminary projections show the dock could be close to Isla Blanca Park with minimal dredging.

“If there is interest, the potential revenue would be used to fund it,” said Susan Guthrie, SPI city manager. “This would be a project that would be funded through its own revenue.”

The group based its analysis and evaluation of SPI’s fitness on maritime viability, uniqueness and branding, consumer demand and revenue possibilities.

SPI Cruise Group concluded that South Padre Island has all the attributes necessary to support cruise tourism as a port of call.

The report found overlaying that map with a map of cruise guest feeder markets showed significant overlap, indicating that interest in SPI as a vacation destination could relatively easily be developed into interest in the Island as a cruise port of call.

Stahl said if the Island becomes a port of call it would be part of the Western Caribbean Cruises and would improve tourism to the Island.

Possible cruise ships leaving Galveston and New Orleans that may come to the Island. Each cruiseliner has fun in store with multiple decks of restaurants, entertainment, pools and more:

Carnival Breeze

Norwegian Dawn

Vision of the Seas

Disney Wonder

About SPI Cruise Group

The SPI Cruise Group consultancy is composed of experts in marketing, port and destination development, cruise, maritime and hotel operations and communications from MarketScope Global, IDEA, Cruise and Port Advisors, and NewmanPR.

The group was formed to develop a strategic vision and action plan to turn South Padre Island into the western Caribbean’s newest cruise ship port of call.

SPI Cruise Group identified several one-of-a-kind attractions

A white sand beach within walking distance of the ship.

Three exciting and different day tours to world-class, unusual and attractive venues: King Ranch, the Gladys Porter Zoo and Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.

A Schlitterbahn Water Park within walking distance of the ship.

Two nationally recognized ecological attractions, the SPI Birding & Nature Center and Sea Turtle Inc.

About South Padre Island

With 34 miles of white sand and clear emerald water, South Padre Island is Texas’ only tropical island paradise.

Calm weather and water and more than 300 days of sunshine make South Padre Island a year-round destination offering a variety of nature tourism attractions, watersports and activities for the entire family.

Potential impact of having a Port of Call

Help local business

More tourists

Economic impact of $20 million or more