Tourism businesses to cash in on cruise ships

Jim Day
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Seventy-one ships and nearly 100,000 passengers to visit this year

A record 71 ships carrying 97,000 passengers and 44,000 crew are scheduled to drop anchor in Charlottetown this year.

This year, tens of millions of dollars will once again wash ashore via the Historic Charlottetown Seaport.

Thousands of passengers and crew will disembark from the most cruise ships ever to call to port in the capital city.

They will walk down the ramp, cash and credit cards in hand. On average, each passenger that leaves the ship will spend $75.

Last year, crew and passengers from 51 total ship calls pumped $13.4 million into the economy.

With a record 71 ships carrying 97,000 passengers and 44,000 crew scheduled to drop anchor in Charlottetown this year, more cruise cash than ever is there for the taking.

Friday, roughly 85 people in tourism-related businesses across the province — restaurant, theatre, retail, and tour operations to name a few — gathered for some advice on how to best cash in of this growing industry.

A daylong session was offered on the ins and outs of the cruise business on P.E.I. and how to get involved in the pre-booked tour business.

The goal is to assist tour operators and destinations in improving their current operations, reaching new levels of performance and productivity, and exceeding the increasing expectations of cruise lines and their passengers.

Melanie Colpitts, of Canadian tour operator Aquila Tours, offered insights on everything from understanding the roles of different stakeholders, to costing, to managing expectations. She says cruise passengers expect an excellent level of service and are looking for a unique experience. This port seems to be succeeding on both fronts.

“Charlottetown gets great ratings from the cruise industry,’’ said Colpitts.

On average, 50 per cent of passengers that leave the cruise ship simply walk around while the other half take a pre-booked excursion.

Activities are as diverse as shucking oysters to kayaking.

Corryn Morrissey, manager of marketing and communications with the Historic Charlottetown Seaport, says the top three excursions among cruise ship visitors are Green Gables-related outings, landscape tours, and a culinary walking tour.

“The more diverse product we can offer...the more appealing we are to the cruise lines,’’ she said.

A major addition to the 2013 schedule is the announcement of the deployment of Holland America’s Veendam on the Canada New England itinerary. This will include a full six-month sailing schedule in the region for Holland America.

Morrissey says the Historic Charlottetown Seaport will enjoy its first full cruise ship summer schedule ever.

This boost in traffic, she notes, offers real promise to tourism operators.

“We really want to showcase how great we are as a summer stop,’’ she said.

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I., Aquila Tours Green Gables America

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Recent comments

  • The type of tourism has changed years ago
    February 16, 2013 - 20:58

    As I understand things, PEI government like the other Maritime provinces were given millions to assist with making their province a destination for the cruise lines. All of the provinces were given millions to make their province an appealing place for a destination. Halifax and Sydney, for example, have used some of the money the province received to help businesses set up when the cruise ship docks and with tours. What did PEI do with the money it was given when the Atlantic provinces became a cruise destination for these ships? Every time a ship is in port they pay huge amounts of money to the government. Who received this money,which dept and what was this money used for? As for the type of tourism that is and has been popular for years, the type of tourism that has shown a profit has only been with cruise ships and not from land travel. This remained true even in world recession, the cruise ships were the only type of tourism that was extremely profitable. It was shown years ago that the tourism had changed. Less land travel and more cruise ship travel. A trend that has continued and will continue according to the stats and studies. That is why the cruise ships have been so successful while those who rely on land travel, not so much. The trends in travel, have shown that cruise ship travel will continue to increase and land travel will continue to decrease. Did the upei dept of tourism not get any information on this when tourism changed more than 10 years ago? Another reason for upei to close down, they outlived its usefulness to the public. It is now a waste of taxpayers monies. It has become a place for the unethical and corrupt to take advantage of grants , free trips with politicians, etc and a place to abuse one's power, abuse one's position. Holland college could take over that campus as it has courses and programs being offered where there are jobs and futures for the students and, thus far, no problems with grant fraud and abuses of power or sexual harassment at Holland college, unlike upei. I guess Holland college is too busy actually helping students work on their studies to prepare them for the real jobs that will await them when they graduate. So, ideas, from the overpaid, clueless tourism pei, such as the oversized talking lobsters on the top of bus stops in Ottawa would have been a just plain stupid idea to bring in tourism to PEI for many reasons and also shows that tackiness does not promote tourism either.

  • Island Boy
    February 16, 2013 - 12:31

    WHAT ABOUT THE WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • As usual people can't see the silver lining
    February 16, 2013 - 10:39

    I feel so ashamed of all the nay-sayers. If you can't say something positive then for God's sake just shut up. The cruiseships do not have much to dump when they come. They have already stopped at Halifax and Sydney and taken on supplies and water and dumped. Open your eyes and be happy any of these floating hotels want to come here at all.

  • Jimmy
    February 16, 2013 - 10:22

    God job Charlottetown!!!! ...summerside could learn a thing or two from Charlottetown

  • Suprised
    February 16, 2013 - 10:02

    Tom. Maybe the rest of the money went to Nova Scotia. I'm always suprised seeing tour busses from Nova Scotia picking up passengers down at the ships. Can't wonder 'how come'. They don't even buy there fuel here.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 16, 2013 - 09:47

    Let me get this straight. Our fresh water supply is being traded to the cruise ships so that 80 tourism operators get to profit? THIS IS VERY WRONG. We need a strong environmental assessment of all the negative things the tourism industry does for the Island, Charlottetown, Summerside, etc. especially the cruise ship industry. I should not have to have my water rationed, etc. so that 80 tourism operators make a profit. Perhaps there is a way 80 more can cash in on our air supply or our food supply.

  • Pieter Valkenburg
    February 16, 2013 - 09:07

    Charlottetown should improve the landing facilities for Cruise ships and consider building a visitors center. Also take a look at what Halifax did, with regard to shopping when passengers come off the ship. (They have opened up a building next to Pier21, were merchants have little stalls that are only open when a cruise ship is in town)

  • Hilary Hawkins
    February 16, 2013 - 08:41

    Anyone who has not visited Prince Edward Island will be in for a real treat ! and to have come to PEI on a fabulous cruise..well, it will just get better and better.. My dads family are from Prince Edward Island, and I always knew I would fall in love with this Island, but when you get there, the beauty and friendliness of the Islanders will simply blow you away ! I`m glad to say my maiden name is Gallant, like Smith on Prince Edward Island :)

  • Paul
    February 16, 2013 - 07:38

    Great, more water restrictions this summer, as these big ships fill up with our good clean water. I understand they pay for the water, but that money does not replenish our shortening supply.

    • UPWESTER
      February 16, 2013 - 11:30

      Why don't you get of your duffus and do something about your water supply? Are you another one of those who just sit around a bi**h about how wronged you are? I have never seen a place that has so much negativism. No wonder we are in such a sad shape.Do SOMETHING, stop this infernal complaining. No one likes a whiner!

  • George
    February 16, 2013 - 06:55

    Tourism, a great benefit or deadly virus to Island residents. Scientist have been discussing concerns over fresh drinking water since the 1977 Mar del Plata conference, one of the earliest international efforts to address basic human water requirements. It is widely recognised that 50/Lt. per person per day is the current benchmark for human requirements, Drinking Water, Sanitation Services, Bathing and Cooking-Kitchen usage. This benchmark combined with a Million tourist year and an average 3 day stay equals a 150 Million/Lt. drain on our fresh water supply to that industry every year. Now to address the ever increasing cruise ships stopping in Charlottetown to fill their fresh water tanks and or dump their gray water tanks. Why is this information not available to Islanders, is there a danger to our water supply, do we have a limit to that supply these are questions that need to be addressed. Here is something that needs sober thought, anyone who has traveled south to the Caribbean in the winter is amassed to find free alcohol and water costing from $5 to $8 US a bottle.

  • Realtor
    February 16, 2013 - 06:21

    That's great news!i hope the stores on thee wharf have enough business sense to open when the first cruise ship comes in at the beginning of the season, instead of being closed as I have seen for so many years , which is a bad reflection on our city .

  • Tom Paine
    February 16, 2013 - 06:21

    Lots of problems with this story... if 97K visitors spend $75 each, that's $7.275 million in spending, not $13.4. So one has to assume that the other $6.2 million is spent by the cruise lines for port fees, taxes, water, waste disposal, supplies, etc. Oh really? Second, PEI tourism numbers have been flat, at best, yet cruise visitations are up. So, effectively, we've turned multi-night visitors into 6-hour ones. Wonderful. And I do hope those theatre people manage to convince the cruise ship visitors to spend a few precious hours inside watching a play. Right.

    • huh
      February 17, 2013 - 11:34

      I'm not sure how, or why, you are intent on spinning the number of cruises visitors that come here into a bad thing. Those that come here via a cruise ship during the season were not likely to ever have been planning to spend the night here at all. So without the increases in cruise visits, would not the flatlining of other visitations been even worse for the Island tourism economy?