Cruise ship complaint assessed

A complaint about new cruise-ship protocols at Port Otago is being assessed by the Commerce Commission.

The complaint, by a Dunedin tour operator, was still being looked at to see if it warranted an investigation, a commission spokesman said yesterday.

Details of the complaint, which was lodged with the commission late last year, were not publicly disclosed by the commission.

The spokesman said each complaint varied in complexity and therefore it was not known how long the assessment would take.

The tour operator who lodged the complaint asked to remain anonymous.

They said the complaint related to the agreement made last year about how tours and other attractions would be marketed and sold to cruise-ship passengers from the wharf.

Port Otago banned individual tour operators from hawking on the wharf, because of security reasons as well as complaints from passengers and cruise-industry staff about unprofessional conduct. The ban was in line with all other New Zealand ports.

It was agreed Dunedin i-Site staff would operate a marquee on the wharf and take bookings on behalf of tour operators. That arrangement has upset some operators, who claimed i-Site staff were biased and generated business for a select few, a claim denied by i-Site staff.

The 2013-14 cruise season from October to May was expected to bring about 148,000 passengers and 65,000 crew to Dunedin on 85 ship visits, and be worth about $32 million to the city.

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