Nova Scotia

Cruise ships bring Halifax big business

While summer draws to a close, many people assume tourism season is as well, however it's a busy time of year for cruise ships and all that profit from their visits.

While summer draws to a close, many people assume tourism season is as well, however it’s a busy time of year for cruise ships and all that profit from their visits.

There were three ships in Halifax Thursday carrying about 6,000 visitors.

Most visitors headed for pre-organized bus tours — big business for the Ambassatour Grey Line bus tour company. There were 30 buses ready for tourists Thursday.

"It's really important ... [cruises] represents a little over 60 per cent of our total company business and it’s a significant major generator of employment for our company and the region," said Dennis Campbell, the company’s president.

It's also business for local retail vendors. Carl Williams and his wife have a craft booth on the waterfront. They come to Halifax because they didn’t have enough visitors to sustain their businesses in the valley.

"Two stores … we closed them because of the lack of tourism in the last few years. It's been really devastating for people in the gift and craft business. One of the big problems is the loss of the ferry coming to Yarmouth. That hurts all the people in the valley specifically," said Williams.

Taxi drivers were also on the hunt for cash-carrying visitors Thursday.

"Out of the three ships, I'll take a stab at it and say there might be 75 or 80 cars go to Peggys Cove today out of all the taxis in this pit," said Doug Covin, who's been driving cabs for 25 years.

The drive costs visitors more than $100 a trip.

The port said over the next two months more than 160,000 visitors will arrive as the cruise season peaks.