Napier expects the cruise industry to bring $30 million and 150,000 people to the region this season
Up to 90 cruise ships, the largest of which is almost 350m long, will dock in Napier over the next few months. (file photo)
Napier is looking forward to the return of the international cruise industry with up to 90 passenger ships carrying up to 150,000 visitors set to call at the seaside city over the next few months.
It’s estimated that cruise ship visitors will bring in about $30 million to Hawke’s Bay from October to April next year.
The cruise industry, which has been on pause since the pandemic began, is slowly returning as the first cruise ship returned to New Zealand late last month.
This brings new economic opportunities, but also poses other challenges to the ongoing staff shortages in the hospitality and retail sectors and to managing the spread of Covid-19.
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A presentation attended by more than 80 retailers, hotel owners and managers, as well as council members and other industry leaders in Napier earlier this week generated excitement about the construction of the upcoming cruise ship season.
Pip Thompson, general manager of Napier City Business Inc, said it would help bring a “sense of fun, energy and vibrancy” to the city that was previously lacking. “Without vibrancy, it’s been a tough few years.”
While there have been issues with cruise tourism fatigue in the past, she said there is a renewed enthusiasm for what it has to offer.
“Only six New Zealand cities have the ability to accommodate cruise ships,” she said. “We’re lucky they’re visiting our city, so look forward to the influx of visitors.”
Locals had catered to businesses through the “Buy local love local” campaign, but Thompson said it would be good if international visitors came back to benefit the region as a whole.
Challenges remained related to staff shortages, particularly in the hospitality sector, and she said it was important for businesses to start planning now.
Hamish Saxton, managing director of Hawke’s Bay Tourism, said Napier has always received positive reviews, particularly for its art deco architecture.
He said there had been a lot of planning behind the scenes to “ensure the best possible experience for visitors and local communities alike”.
Napier Port, Napier iSITE and Hawke’s Bay Tourism worked on a Return to Cruise strategy to identify potential concerns. This included creating ship and passenger spend for companies to help them make decisions related to operating hours and staffing.
Todd Dawson, Chief Executive of Napier Port, was equally thrilled to welcome back cruise ships, especially given the port’s recently completed $170 million wharf extension work.
He said there would be a “much needed boost” for local tourism businesses, retail and hospitality.
The new 350 meter quay is capable of berthing the largest cruise ships coming to New Zealand, including the Oasis class liners, as well as container and bulk carriers.
The first cruise scheduled to visit Napier will be the Ovation of the Seas, arriving on October 24. With a length of 347.08 m, she is also the largest ship to dock in the port.
Kevin O’Sullivan, chief executive of the New Zealand Cruise Association, said earlier Things The industry was worth US$565 million to New Zealand in 2019 – a 28% increase from the previous year.