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.