According to information obtained, this week, by This is Cozumel, more cruise ship passengers visited Cozumel in the first half of 2014 than in the first half of any year ever before.

The statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Organization show 1,785,684 visitors arrived to Cozumel by cruise ship between January and June 2014, 11 per cent more than the previous record of 1,609,401 for the same period in 2005.

Although the data only goes back to 1995, it is safe to assume there were less cruise visitors in previous years as the island's third cruise terminal, Puerta Maya, was not completed until the late 1990s and the capacity for cruise ships was much lower prior to that.

Cruise arrivals had been steadily increasing up until 2005, when Hurricane Wilma struck in October of that year, damaging piers and stunting the growth of the cruise industry in Cozumel.

Following 2005, the world economic crisis also took its toll on the island, and cruise tourism had a bumpy recovery.

Good news or bad news?

The new record this year will be welcomed by many politicians and local businesses, who have sought to attract more visitors to the island and argue an expansion to the Puerta Maya cruise terminal is necessary to satisfy demand.

Others will be more sceptical, pointing to the environmental damage cruise tourism can cause and arguing that cruise passengers are bigger earners for the cruise lines than the island itself.

But almost all agree the island's tourism economy needs to diversify to attract other types of visitors too.

Cozumel has had some success with this in recent years, attracting new "sports tourism" with three international triathlons now being held on the island each year.

Big investments are also being made in large hotels and plans still exist for a mega-resort on the island's east coast.

Find out more about Cozumel cruises and cruise lines.

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