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 GREETINGS FROM: SANTA MARTA -  COLOMBIA

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Colombia expects 470,000 cruise passengers the coming year

Colombia expect some 470,000 passengers to set foot on Colombian soil during the new cruise season that begins in August and last until June 2010.

The new season begins Friday with the arrival of the cruise ship Dawn Princess in Cartagena, Nubia Stella Martinez, vice-president of Proexport Tourism, which promotes tourism and foreign investment in Colombia, told newspaper El Espectador Tuesday.

"The novelty of this season" will be the Spanish ship Pullmantur that comes to Colombia in October for the first time ever. Pullmantur has been shipping in the Mediterranean, northern Europe and the Caribbean for more than 10 years.

In total, 183 cruisers will come to Colombian ports (Cartagena, Santa Marta and San Andres), including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, See Tours, Holland America, Silver Cruises, Azamara Cruises, MTC Hamburg and Seabourn.

Martinez hopes that the success and growth of the last four years will continue this season. Cartagena, Santa Marta and San Andres hope to receive a total of 470,00 tourists from cruise ships.

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