Busy cruise ship season means business for local vendors
HALIFAX – Thousands of passengers from three separate cruise ships lined up for city tours and spent money at shops on the Halifax harbourfront on Thursday.
The Halifax Port Authority says it is beginning of the busiest time of year for cruise ships.
“For the month of September we are expected approximately fifty vessel calls here in Halifax. For the month of October we are expected an additional fifty vessel calls,” said Lane Farguson with the Halifax Port Authority.
In all, 240,000 passengers will pass through Halifax this year, coming in on 144 vessels. That’s a record for vessel visits, according to the port authority.
All of those passengers means big business for the local business owners and vendors.
Mary Lund has been operating her silk store at the Halifax port for two decades. She says the busy atmosphere means money in the bank.
“This is our main time of year, this is where we make most of our income, these two months. I’ve been here twenty years so I rely on it a lot,” said Lund
According to the the port authority, cruise ship passengers spend over $100 million annually in the city, and two-thirds of that money spent will be in the next few weeks.
Pushing business is a strong American dollar, enticing American cruise ship passengers to take advantage of deals on this side of the border.
“This is our first stop, so we are just checking out the shops in here and see what’s available and with the exchange rate we will probably be doing a lot of shopping,” said Suzanne Daprile from Philadelphia.
Dennis Campbell, CEO of Ambassatours, calls these weeks the company’s “sweet spot” for the year.
“It’s very good for our business. Our business is somewhat seasonal so it’s nice to be in peak season,” said Campbell
The port authority says the total passenger count for this year will be a ten percent increase from 2014.