Bernie Dumas, President & CEO, Nanaimo Port Authority, commented on the number of cruise ships to be hosted in Nanaimo in 2014. “While we are disappointed with the number of calls scheduled for 2014, we are focusing our efforts on increasing future cruise ship calls to meet our stated expectations and those of the local and mid-island communities. 2015 is already encouraging and moving in the direction that is more in line with our expectations, and to date we have already received five nominations.”
Since 2005, 68 large cruise ships have come to Nanaimo carrying over 134,000 passengers. The cruise business represents a significant economic contribution to the community around Nanaimo. Since 2011, when the cruise ship terminal opened, Nanaimo has hosted 33,908 passengers plus crew generating a direct economic impact of $2.14 million, for local and mid-island communities based on cruise industry studies.
“The local and regional community continues to be an integral partner of our cruise initiative. We need community support and unique attractions to make this work, a development emphasized by cruise industry executives.” says Dumas. “We are working with the NEDC, Tourism Nanaimo, City of Nanaimo, RDN, the DNBIA and local excursion operators. A unique hook for our attractive destination will compliment what passengers enjoy. The Nanaimo Port Authority’s relationships with community partners and participation with support from businesses and the public are key elements to the on-going success of the cruise industry in Nanaimo.”
“2010 projections were based on repositioning shoulder season visits, as well as cruise visits from ships during the regular Alaska cruise season.” Dumas stated. “Several developments occurred over the last three years that affected Nanaimo: cruise lines restructured itineraries, changed destinations and moved different vessels into various cruise theatres on the west coast of North America and beyond. Since enactment in August 2012, we felt the full impact of the Emission Control Area regulations requiring all vessels to burn low sulphur fuels within 200 nautical miles of the coastland. This dramatically increased fuel costs for the cruise lines and the regulations were introduced after our 2010 projections and 2011 terminal completion. As a result, specific cruise lines decided to reduce their number of repositioning cruises, directly impacting Nanaimo in 2014. Cruise lines are also developing new cruise markets and need to position themselves into these markets quickly after the Alaska season, again impacting west coast repositioning cruises and calls to Nanaimo.”
Dumas stated that “Nanaimo Port Authority is working with the cruise industry to feature our first class facilities and to continue with the development of our cruise business. Our efforts have not diverted from our original goals”, and expressed confidence in the Port’s ability to secure additional cruise calls.