From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2011
CONTACT: (512) 463-0120

LEGISLATIVE STUDY ON CRUISE SHIPS PASSES IRT COMMITTEE

(Austin, TX) — Earlier today, The Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade heard and passed SCR 5, which calls for a Legislative Study to help bring cruise ships to Corpus Christi. The bill was recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, released the following statement.

"Conducting the study will be the first step in achieving the vision that Corpus Christi and nearby communities have of growing new industries and a vibrant economy in the coastal region.

"After the loss of over 6,000 military and civilian jobs with the closing of Naval Station Ingleside, the region could greatly benefit from the estimated $2 billion in new revenue the cruise ship industry would bring in.

"The cruise ship industry is growing rapidly - in the next three years over 50 million North Americans indicate intent to cruise. We can't let this opportunity sail away, there is strong potential for success and we must highlight the need to attract a significant industry to Texas.

"We should take advantage of the long Texas coast line. An additional Texas cruise ship port between Calhoun and Cameron counties can offer an attractive vacation option for many individuals and an economic boost to the state as a whole."

Passed by Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade vote of 5 ayes and 0 nays. It will be sent to Local/Uncontested Calendar, which usually means swift consideration by the Senate. Local and Uncontested Calendars normally are prepared for consideration by the senate once or twice a week during the last half of the regular session. Measures on the Local and Uncontested Calendar are considered without a suspension of the regular order of business, which generally is required for consideration of legislation in the senate. As in the house, consideration of Local and Uncontested Calendars in the senate is expedited because the measures on these calendars usually are not debated and floor amendments to measures on these calendars are prohibited. A measure may be removed from the Local and Uncontested Calendar if two or more Senators object to the consideration of the measure.

In Houston, the launching of cruise lines generates about $1billion in direct spending and $893 in direct wages. Florida and California have five cruise operating ports, while Texas has only one and nothing south of Calhoun county. The cruise industry is the most exciting growth category in the leisure market. Since 1990, the industry has had an average passenger growth rate of 7.2% per annum. It's also a young industry, 40% of total passengers have been generated in the past five years alone.

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