Saturday, May 22, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Friday, May 21, 2010)

Homecoming weekend is underway, The Port says that the local cruise scene is fine and Prince Rupert Grain gets an award, some of the items of interest for the Friday News cycle.

Daily News, front page, headline story
PRINCE RUPERT IN THE GOOD BOOKS WITH CRUISE PASSENGERS--  An update from the Port Authority on the current state of the cruise industry in the city, with the port expressing confidence that through exit surveys and independent surveys the experience of visitors to the city is considered a good one. Among the items discussed was the feedback received from the cruise industry and what needs to be done in the future to address their suggestions.

The Grain Terminal becomes an award winner as Prince Rupert Grain is honoured for excellence by the Canadian Wheat Board as one of four recipients of the Grain Handler of the Year.

And as summer approaches charter season heads into full operation, Friday's paper looks at the impact on the economy that the charter business has in town.

The sports section featured Rugby as the main attraction on Friday, with reports on the high school match between Houston and Charles Hays as well as the latest details on the Prince Rupert Seamen's season.

(Daily News Archive Items for Friday, May 21, 2010)

Prince Rupert in the good books with cruise passengers 
Grain Terminal wins award
Middle class lacking legal support
Prince Rupert in World War II 
Charter season arrives in Prince Rupert 

The Northern View
No new items posted to Northern View website for Friday

CFTK TV 7 News
Taxi Assault -- Sahar Nassimdoost's TV 7 report on the assualt on a Skeena Taxi driver earlier in the week (view report here)

CFTK TV 7 News--
Rupert Homecoming Begins-- Sahar Nassimdoost provides a look at the opening day of the Homecoming 2010 celebrations in the city (view report here)

CBC News Norther BC, Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
Prince Rupert in the good books with cruise passengers
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Staff Writer
Prince Rupert Daily News
Friday, May 21,2010

 Since 2004, $38 million has been spent by tourists and employees off the cruise ships visiting Prince Rupert, making it one of the third busiest ports in the province.

 “I think Prince Rupert should take pride in the fact that we rank as one of the most friendly and hospital ports anywhere on the West Coast, as shown through out exit surveys and independent surveys,” said Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Cruise Director Phil Westoby at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held May 19 at Chances.

 Westoby is also the Chair of Cruise BC and said the organization is anticipating 13 million cruisers in 2010. 

“That’s seven percent growth over 2009 in an economy that is apparently stale,” he added.

 Last year the Prince Rupert Port Authority underwent a strategic review of Prince Rupert’s cruise industry, gathering extensive information from exit surveys and feedback from the cruise companies.

 The findings suggested Prince Rupert become more aware of its identity and destination.

Other points indicated the Port should work collaboratively with key stakeholders, that access to the community and attractions needs to be improved, shore excursions could expand and retail opportunities closer to the cruise ship terminal need to be enhanced.

 In terms of how those research findings affects smaller business owners, Westoby suggested it’s really about looking at those assets and filling the gaps.

 “In retail assessment, it’s asking ‘are the doors open?’ A couple of years ago we sent a group up to Ketchikan and noticed with all the businesses there, the doors were open.”

 On the plus side, Prince Rupert has nature, wildlife, adventure and culture as the four cornerstones used to market itself.

 “Our First Nations tourism is phenomenal,” said Westoby. “It’s one of the best in the theatre. We have an excellent program running with the Museum, we have on board this year Lax Kw’alaams, now offering tour products, as well as Metlakatla through Seashore Charters, with its tours to Pike Island and the new canoe.” 

Fishing is also an asset, he said.

 “I just checked the prices last week and the halibut fishing sold on board the ship in Prince Rupert is one hundred dollars less than Ketchikan, so we’re very competitive.”

 Ninety-five percent of the cruises taking place in North America are populated by American consumers and Cruise BC has determined that the upcoming future markets are South East Asia and Europe, with a small number continuing to be from Canada and Mexico.

 In 2009, there was a reduction in the number of ships visiting in Alaska, mostly due to the head tax being charged, and that has had an impact on numbers coming to Prince Rupert.

 Alaska has pulled back a number of restrictions, and the indication is that ships will start returning to Alaska by normal levels in 2012 and beyond, Westoby said.

 In terms of itinerary planning, normally done 18 to 24 months ahead, Norwegian Cruise Lines has indicated it will continue with one ship a week in 2011, and its Norwegian Pearl will also make its first single call in Prince Rupert. No numbers have been confirmed for 2012.

 While Vancouver is experiencing almost thirty percent decline in 2010, because ships are choosing to go to Seattle, Westoby said that’s a good thing for Prince Rupert.

 “It’s an opportunity for Prince Rupert to capitalize, based on the Passenger Service Act. We need to tell and fill the story of Prince Rupert. We need to open our doors and welcome our guests. In terms of the overall, we must look at cruise not just benefiting cruise, but creating capacities in tourism that benefits all the tourism market and the community,” he added.

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