Cruise ship 'double-up' big boost for business

Thousands of cruise ship passengers flocked into central Dunedin yesterday during the busiest day of the city's latest cruise season.

Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said this had been the ''first double-up'' of the season, with two cruise ships, the Radiance of the Seas and Sun Princess, in port at the same time.

It was a good day for the port company and Dunedin and the cruise visits were clearly ''very positive for the whole economy''.

Radiance of the Seas carries about 2500 passengers and more than 850 crew, and Sun Princess carries nearly 2000 passengers and about 900 crew.

The cruise ship trade had become ''a very important part of the Dunedin economy and it's important to Port Otago as well'', Mr Brown said.

One national study noted the trade contributed about $35 million to the Dunedin economy each year and the city was the second-biggest recipient of cruise visit-related income, behind Auckland, he said.

Dunedin City Council visitor industry adviser Sophie Barker said yesterday's double visit injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into the city's economy.

She added she had felt ''a sense of relief'' the visits took place as scheduled. There had been some weather-related disruption at the start of the season, and earlier this week there were concerns bad weather might cause problems this weekend, but that had not eventuated, she said.

Dunedin weaver and spinner Lynn Carpenter said she enjoyed the busiest trading of the cruise season at her Octagon Market stall yesterday.

Initially windy, chilly conditions yesterday morning proved good for business, helping her to sell 10 woollen hats and five scarves by about 2pm.

Law Courts Hotel lessee Les Scott said yesterday had been the busiest for the hotel in terms of cruise passengers this season. Having more cruise passengers in the city was clearly good for the hotel and positive for nearby businesses.

And it was ''great'' that some cruise ship tourists, having experienced Dunedin once, were coming back again, Mr Scott said.

Alan Robson, of the Gold Coast, Australia, yesterday enjoyed his second visit to Dunedin, having arrived aboard the Radiance of the Seas. His only regret was that he had not realised earlier how much there was to do in Dunedin.

-john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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