Peace officer to fight off aggressive tour operators

Peace officer to fight off aggressive tour operators
By admin

Napier, one of New Zealand's most popular cruise port's is coming up against threats that its cruise tourism income could be potentially cut off if the aggressive selling tactics of on-shore tourism operators continues.

Tourism operators targeting cruise passengers are required to adhere to a code that prevents them from calling out and hassling passengers into joining tours or various activities along Marine Parade, as The Napier Mail reports.

According to the paper, Napier City Council is allegedly hiring a “peace officer” or mediator, whose role will be to monitor operators trying to sell outside of the city’s i-Site, where cruise passengers disembark from the ships.

The report states that $20 million income from cruise ships is a vital lifeblood to the city, but industry members were last month told that, among other lines, Cruise New Zealand had complained about the aggressive behaviour of on-shore operators.

The paper reports that according to i-Site manager Jane Libby, P&O Cruises had directly confronted Napier tourism officials about the matter, while Cruise New Zealand’s executive officer Raewyn Tan said it was “important to remember that cruise lines are not a charity.”

Cruise liners want to sell as much on-shore tourism product as possible, however wish to do so from on-board the ships, with Tan telling the paper that a liner’s income from shore excursions “needs to be at or more than port costs,” to ensure that independent selling on land doesn’t undermine its revenue.

Tourism Hawke’s Bay general manager Annie Dundas told the paper it is essential for business to keep cruise lines happy in order to sustain the essential tourism sector.

“It’s all about their margin,” she said, as Napier Mail reports. “We are at the whim of the cruise lines, if [their accounts] don’t balance they’ll go elsewhere.”

Over the last cruise season, Napier’s port popularity dropped from second to eighth, with Dundas telling the paper it was hard to know how much of the drop was due to independent selling, weather or poor visitor experience generally.

According to Dundas, a growing number of cruise ship passengers are also “free independents”, opting to do their own research on destination tours rather than book through the ship’s system.

"This is a bit of a wake-up call,” she said to the paper. “We are beholden to the cruise lines for this income and it is a tap that can be turned off."

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