Tourism operators have been urged to use a new service in
the wake of claims some have missed out on a significant chunk
of cruise-ship income.
Dunedin Host and the Dunedin City Council's economic
development unit are offering local tour operators advice on
how to use online marketing to capture a wider section of the
cruise-ship passenger market.
Dunedin Host board member and city councillor Andrew Whiley
said the initiative would provide operators with the
information needed to grow their online game. This would
begin before the next cruise season.
''We want them to succeed. If they grow they will inject
money into the Dunedin economy,'' he said.
Cr Whiley contacted The Star after some operators last week
said they were missing out on thousands of dollars due to
being unable to sell their tours, in person, on the wharf at
University of Otago marketing lecturer James Henry said
research showed only 3% of cruise passengers booked tours on
the day they arrived in Dunedin. Dr Henry said he was
available to provide online marketing advice and operators
could call him or iSite manager Louise Van de Vlierd.
Tour operators were banned from selling their services on the
wharf after the 2012-13 cruise-ship season.
Dunedin was the last port in New Zealand to allow operators
to sell tours on the wharf. Cruise companies had not been
happy about this, as they wanted passengers to buy tours on
board, if possible, or to use businesses the companies had
relationships with, Cr Whiley said.
''The cruise companies need to create revenue at the ports or
they won't come.''
A cruise operator accreditation programme was set up by
Dunedin Host in September 2012. The programme offered
operators advice on how to improve their services and meant
complaints were more thoroughly documented.
Cr Whiley had gone to the wharf for inspections eight times
during the 2012-13 season and while he was there everyone was
However, he had received complaints of bad behaviour about a
small minority of operators - including allegations operators
were verbally abusing shuttle ticket-sellers, fighting among
themselves and sleeping in their vehicles. He received
complaints of poor service, including operators' vehicles
being in poor condition, and tours not proceeding as
The bad behaviour had not been the reason for the ban but it
had given the cruise companies ammunition to use against tour
operators, Cr Whiley said.
- by Jonathan Chilton-Towle