Cruise ship plans enhanced for growth

Sophie Barker
Sophie Barker
Despite a drop in the number of cruise ships expected to visit Dunedin in the 2013-14 season, local tourist operators have been told to expect a 6.2% rise in passenger numbers.

Dunedin City Council business development adviser Sophie Barker said 151,000 passengers arrived on 85 cruise ship visits in the 2012-13 season. She predicted 161,000 passengers would arrive on 80 cruise ships in the 2013-14 season.

She made the comments during a debriefing for the cruise ship industry, at the Dunedin Public Library yesterday, aimed at improving the systems and procedures dealing with visitors and tourist operations. About 100 people attended.

Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said the past season was ''pretty good'' for the region. With larger ships predicted to come this season, it was expected to improve.

He believed there were elements which could be improved for the forthcoming season.

Mr Brown said there had been concern among cruise line operators about private tour operators being on the wharf, and he was disappointed there had been some fighting among tourism operators in front of passengers on the wharf.

So, plans were being developed to have the private tour operators stationed in an area near the ship, but away from their vehicles.

''It won't be like the situation it was last year.''

There were also plans to expand the availability of free Wi-Fi in the area because it had proved popular with cruise ship passengers and cruise ship crew members.

Tourism Dunedin trade sales representative Gil Abercrombie warned competition for passengers among tour operators was likely to increase as cruise ship operators, overseas tourism agents and online tour operators provided more onshore excursion opportunities.

She said Dunedin had good tour operators who provided a wide number of attractions, but it was important for them to maintain that profile.

Other suggestions provided by those in attendance included providing a kapa haka group at the wharf to welcome the cruise ship passengers; getting passengers off the vessels more quickly so they could make more of their time on shore; and making sure passengers were safe, after complaints were made about passengers standing in the middle of Baldwin St for photographs to be taken.

Another meeting would be held before the 2013-14 season to update operators on the changes.

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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