John Bisset / Stuff
The Seabourn Encore cruise ship arrives at Timaru Port on January 15, 2020.
Businesses in Timaru’s CBD are encouraged to take advantage of the record number of cruise ship visits to the city this summer, with the easy walking distance between the port and the city center being a “one-of-a-kind opportunity” for travellers.
With the announcement last week that cruise ships will return to Timaru on a record 12 visits to the city’s port, the region’s hospitality branch president and the city’s CBD chairman are now urging business owners to make the most of the opportunities of an influx of visitors. will bring.
While most ships scheduled to arrive will have between 450 and 600 passengers, a larger ship, making four calls, will carry up to 1,900 passengers.
Timaru CBD Chairman Allan Booth, a Timaru District councilor who is seeking re-election in the 2022 local elections, said the visits were a great ‘restart’ for the cruise industry – the ships were not authorized to come to New Zealand waters since March 2020.
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“And the realization of having a CBD within walking distance of the born ship, creates a unique opportunity that is matched only by Auckland,” Booth said.
“This can only be further enhanced with the proposed new key connections program under consideration, as part of the revitalization of CityTown currently underway.”
While it is up to individual businesses normally closed on ship visit days to open in particular, he said the CBD Group could only “encourage these businesses to seize any potential business opportunity for the good not only of ‘themselves, but of the greatest number’. CBD and the reputation of our destination”.
“Destination Timaru and the CBD can very well benefit from cruise ship visits, provided that key stakeholders support them.”
Kristy Phillips, branch manager of Hospitality South Canterbury, said the ships would bring a new range of visitors to town, and it was hoped they would take a liking to the neighborhood and want to return for a longer stay.
Asked if the area’s hospitality industry would be ready for an influx of people into town, Phillips said nearly every industry in South Canterbury was facing issues with staffing, supply chains and opening hours.
“We [hospitality] are not alone in this case.
“Our local hotel operators have shown their resilience and adaptability and will of course do all they can to accommodate as many people as possible in this great neighborhood of ours.
“The focus is on developing the skills of our own local talent and supporting our employees, so they are ready for the summer season we have all been waiting for.”
Phillips said she looks forward to working with Venture Timaru “and the rest of the city” to welcome visitors.
“While many have pre-planned adventures, we’ll do our best to provide a great experience for those staying in town.”
When asked what she would do if she was a tourist coming to Timaru, Phillips said she enjoys exploring the towns on foot “looking for the hidden gems the locals love.”
“Some of our local attractions such as Te Ana are also must-sees, while supporting as many hospitality venues as possible of course.”
The first ship arrives on December 15, with the Seabourn Odyessey, carrying 458 passengers. The Noordam, carrying up to 1,900 passengers, will make four passes.