li-saint-john-cruise-ship-620

Many attractions in Saint John don't stay open without a cruise ship in the harbour, according to a local tourism operator. (CBC)

A zip line operator at Saint John's Reversing Falls says the city's "one-sided" tourism approach needs to diversify if businesses are to turn a profit.

Terry Stevens, the owner of Saint John Adventures, contends the emphasis on the cruise ship industry is hurting the city, because it's leaving tourists who come by car with little to do.

"Our cruise ship days are our busiest, without a doubt," said Stevens, who operates out of 50 Fallsview Ave., on the city's west side.

There is a noticeable drop in business, however, when cruise ships are not in port, said Stevens.

"The idea is to bring tourists here," he said.

"Not just to do one thing, but to stay multiple days. It would be nice to have this as more of a destination than a quick stop-over."

'If they're not here to offer the same thing to the other tourists, it takes away from the other tourism sectors.'- Terry Stevens, Saint John Adventures

Many vendors in the city don't stay open without a cruise ship in the harbour, said Stevens, so there is little incentive to attract visitors.

"If they're not here to offer the same thing to the other tourists, it takes away from the other tourism sectors," he said.

He would like to see the city build a new visitors' centre by the Reversing Falls and update the site by adding park benches and plants.

"I think the city and all levels of government have to start investing in the infrastructure to bring our assets up to popularity again," he said.

"Reversing Falls used to be a world class tourist destination, and there's been nothing done here for years."

Stevens' comments come days after another business, Reversing Falls Jet Boat Rides, announced it was up for sale.

Owner Marc Gosselin listed the business for sale for almost $500,000, but no interested buyers have emerged.

Gosselin says if the business doesn't sell during the off-season, he won't be operating it in the spring of 2014.