Cruise tourism isn’t quite the boon Maritimers think it is, cautions the author of a recent report.
“The ports and taxpayers in the Maritimes are subsidizing the profitability of an industry that is registered offshore, relies on poorly-paid workers from developing countries and that contributes a modest amount to the local economy,” said Ross Klein, the author of Cruising without a Bruising: Cruise Tourism and the Maritimes. The report was released yesterday for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
He said local businesses aren’t paid enough, cruise ships are an environmental concern, and too much is spent on cruise ship infrastructure when it could be better spent elsewhere.
In the past five years, $100 million was spent on cargo and cruise ship infrastructure in Halifax.
The only thing Michele Peveril, spokeswoman for Halifax Port Authority, agreed with Klein on is that the cruise industry is growing exponentially.
“We know from our studies with partners that each cruise season local business experience $25 million in direct economic benefit from the cruise industry,” she said.
“That’s not even all the related spin-offs within a couple hours driving distance of where those customers arrive.”
But Keith said local tour operators are getting a raw deal because they get half or less of what passengers pay the cruise ships for their tours.
Peveril said she hasn’t heard any complaints from tour operators.
“The tour operators are seeing a huge benefit from the cruise ships coming and actually it’s been a real bright spot in Nova Scotia tourism in the past few years.”
Last season was a record for the port with 124 cruise ships stopping in with 228,000 passengers and 70,000-80,000 crewmembers.
The port will welcome its two millionth passenger this year as another 124 ships are expected. The first one will arrive on May 15th.