Saturday, October 03, 2015

Cruise Ships Are A Boon To Island Economy

229 Ships Visit Ogden Point Victoria
500,000 + Visitors Injecting $30 million+

A recent short visit to our capital city to the south was a bit of an eye opener when it comes to the impact the cruise ship business has on their economy. In a matter of 3 short days we saw six large cruise ships tied up at Ogden Point.

This traffic provided a steady stream of visitors on tour buses, pedi-cabs and of course the iconic horse drawn buggies delivering a serious cash injection to local businesses.

Can Nanaimo Compete With Victoria?

Given that we are actually bigger than Victoria by population we might like to think we can entice some of those 229 ships to stop in Nanaimo instead of Victoria. Well, that is simply not dealing with reality on any level and we are deluding ourselves to think otherwise. Spending a day taking in the sights of Victoria is miles and miles ahead of anything Nanaimo has to offer. Our waterfront is nice, theirs is spectacular and it goes on forever. Our inner harbour is quaint. Enough said. We do have parks and trails, but have you seen Beacon Hill Park?

I am not bashing Nanaimo, merely making the point the idea that we will ever become a destination for cruise ships to stop is simply silly thinking. We could turn Newcastle Island into something great, but we still can't compete with the complete package Victoria has to offer. We might be able to run bus excursions from Victoria but will need much more to become a destination.

A Few Comparisons

On Sept. 26, 28 and 29th Ogden Point saw 6 large cruise ships tied up with a total passenger count of 12,404. On two days in July and one day in September Nanaimo cruise ship terminal saw 2 large and 1 small cruise ship tie up bringing a maximum of 5402 visitors to Nanaimo. The number for Victoria was actual passenger count whereas the Nanaimo number is maximum number of passengers possible.

From April through September a total of 229 cruise ships were scheduled to visit Victoria with an estimated 513,000 tourists injecting $30 million plus into the local economy which is reported to support 800 jobs.

Another consideration with regard the value of cruise ships to the local economy is determined by 'when' on the cruise a ship stops to visit. For example the last cruise ship to come to Nanaimo was on the last day of it's cruise with their passenger getting off the ship the next day in Vancouver. It is reasonable to assume that most of those passengers had already purchased mementos and gifts for friends and family by the time they get to Nanaimo, so the number of dollars they are apt to spend may not be significant.

Next Year Six Ships Coming To Nanaimo

It seems Nanaimo is getting noticed in the world of cruise ships with the announcement by the Port Authority that six vessels are scheduled to come to Nanaimo next year. We still have some distance to go to return to the total of thirteen ships which stopped here before the terminal was built and passengers were tendered into the harbour from their anchored ship.

There is no downside to hosting visitors on cruise ships regardless of how much money they inject into the local economy. That said, Nanaimo has to step up it's game if we ever hope to maximize the potential this industry could have on our economy.

If we are going to encourage cruise lines to stop in Nanaimo we likely have to offer them something they can't get in Victoria. Making Nanaimo a destination in addition to Victoria and not instead of Victoria could bear fruit, trying to compete with Victoria is a recipe for failure.


1 comment:

  1. Enticements? A BUFFET whereas Nanaimo bars are the only item!

    Take as many home as you can carry in a museum shopping bag!!!



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