Summerside tries to cash in on the cruise industry
The cruise ship season is still months away, but businesses on P.E.I. are getting a lesson on how to cash in on the thousands of passengers who will dock in Charlottetown.
Industry experts gave a workshop for tourism operators on Friday telling them how to better sell to cruise ship passengers.
Danielle Timmons of Aquila Tours said more than 70 ships will dock in Charlottetown this year bringing about 91,000 visitors to the Island.
She said on average, each will spend up to $81 while they visit Charlottetown, but some of those passengers are more valuable in the long term.
"Seven per cent of people who visit Charlottetown on a cruise will return by land at some point in the next three years. So if we get almost 100,000 passengers on a cruise every year, that's almost 7,000 people per year who will return," Timmons said.
It's not just the capital hoping to better cash in on the cruise industry. The Island's second-biggest city said those cruise passengers as a ticket to a richer future.
"We've been fairly flat in the tourism industry and we're just, we're trying every opportunity to help our operators gain more market share," said Duke Cormier with Tourism Summerside.
"Cruise is one that we're not taking any piece of right now at all so if we can get any part of that it's going to be helpful to our operators."
Timmons said it's up to businesses to sell their experiences.
"It's actually the cruise lines doing the sales, but you've got to provide them what they need in order to get people to do it. So it's got to be something compelling that people say 'Ah, I want to do that that sounds fun,'" she said.
The first cruise ship of 2013 will dock in Charlottetown in May.