Celebrity Solstice docked in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)

Port promoting tourism excursions for cruise ship passengers in Nanaimo

Port authority develops partnerships in advance of six ships arriving in 2020

Half a dozen cruise ships are expected to visit the Harbour City this year and Nanaimo’s port authority is hoping passengers have “authentic on-shore experiences.”

The Port of Nanaimo is expecting six cruise ships to visit the city this year and as a result, it’s spent the last six months working with tour operators to create a dozen “export-ready” experiences for passengers as part of their effort to support local businesses, according to a press release issued by the organization Tuesday.

“It is understood that attracting more cruise ships is more than just having an excellent, state-of-the-art cruise ship terminal, which we have. A large part of attracting cruise ships here includes local businesses showcasing opportunities for passengers to get off the ship and enjoy what we have here, and we believe these packages do that very well,” said port authority president and chief executive officer, Ian Marr, in the release.

The 12 highlighted “experiences” are designed to “harness the unique assets” of the Nanaimo region and fall under the categories of “sip and savour, eco-immersion, cultural exploration and adventure and adrenaline,” the release notes.

All of the experiences will be available to passengers on all cruise ships and will be operated by local tour operators, story-tellers, experts, and guides, according to the release, which notes that cruise operators expect to be able to offer these types of services to their passengers.

“We have to help the cruise lines, and travel agents, illustrate the allure of our destination to their passengers with unique regional experiences while maintaining our central Island culture and values,” said Jason Michell, the port authority’s vice-president of business and cruise development, in the release. “We need to prove that we are seeking to be host to travellers and their desire to immerse themselves in other cultures, local lifestyle, tradition, and history.”

The first cruise ship scheduled to visit Nanaimo is Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess on May 8.

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