Tourism operators making most of wet weather

The busy autumn cruise ship season in Saint John is off to a wet start, and that's tough on some businesses.

Cruise ship visits peak in September, October

A wet weekend came at one of the busiest times of the year for cruise ship business in Saint John, but tourists didn't seem to mind.

"We carry our umbrellas, we've been wet before and we'll be wet again," said Linda Grisham of Oklahoma. "So it doesn't bother us."

Grisham said she would like to see more fall colours but doesn't mind the lousy weather while taking in the view from Fort Howe.

The bad weather does bother companies that rely on tourism. Some souvenir vendors say they notice business drops by half in rainy weather.

The fall season is a risky time for making money for tour operators.

"You've got that one shot to make some money for your business for the year and if you don't get that day, it doesn't come back," said Mike White of Turn of the Century Trolley Tours. "So it's kind of lost completely."

Despite the risk, fall is one of the best times for the city's tourism businesses. Port of Saint John C.E.O. Jim Quinn says Saint John sees two-thirds of all its cruise ship traffic in September and October.

"A lot of the attraction is the fall foliage," said Quinn. "You'll see this time of year the demographics of the folks on board changes from that which you'll see in the summer. More families are sailing in the summertime, this tends to be more of an older group of people."

Seven more cruise ships will dock in Saint John over the next week.