The P.E.I. Tour Operators Association is asking for a more permanent, easily accessible structure on the Charlottetown waterfront.
The association began two years ago when a collection of taxis banded together to offer cruise ship passengers transportation around the Island.
The association signed a contract with the Charlottetown Port Authority at the time, allowing the group access to the grounds.
William Murray, president of the P.E.I. Tour Operators Association, said the group is keeping a close eye on where talks involving a new master plan for the waterfront go.
“With more and more ships coming in next year and the need for our services increasing, there is a need for a more permanent, easily accessible structure on the site,’’ Murray said.
Right now, the association spends thousands to rent a tent
“We would like to see the redevelopment include an area on the port authority land that allows for visitors to access our services, provides for a shelter for visitors awaiting pickup or just a comfortable place to rest before heading out.’’
Charlottetown welcomed 54 cruise ships (42 cruise ships days; sometimes more than one ship is in port on the same day) to its port this year but expects to host 76 in 2013 (62 cruise ships days).
Murray said his association, which has doubled in size in two years, pumps half a million dollars into the economy each season and they’d like to see the provincial government, City of Charlottetown and port authority to help fund the cost of a permanent location.
No one from the port authority was immediately available for comment Thursday.
Each member of the tour operations association goes through a course conducted by the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. (TIAPEI).
Murray said the association may have been at odds with then port authority two years ago but “we’re all working together on the same page now’’.
The group is looking for a gazebo-like structure, similar to the one, which sits at the nearby Joe Ghiz Park and a well-landscaped area around it.
“Replacing the old security fence with a more attractive and functional iron gate system would also enhance the first impressions of visitors as they come off the cruise ship.’’
Murray said similar associations are looking for the same thing in Halifax and Sydney, N.S.