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Cruise Task Force updates Prince Rupert council before next week's ship arrives

The Prince Rupert Cruise Ship Task Force says is still looking for volunteers even with the first cruise ship arrival only days away.

Task Force Representatives appeared before city council at their meeting last Monday to give councillors an update on what they have been doing to sell Prince Rupert as a cruise destination by taking advantage of the few opportunities the community has to impress cruise passengers.

The task force has been working on two things: One, improving the guest-experience of our cruise visitors. Two, to re-engage the cruise lines to make Prince Rupert a marketable destination again in the Alaskan Theatre for 2013- 2014,” says John Farrell.

The task force believes that there is a window of opportunity has opened for Prince Rupert as the Cruise industry has started allocating more ships into their Alaskan routes. High fuel prices could also make Prince Rupert a more attractive stop for cruise lines as well.

“Because of our geographical location, we have a significant opportunity in terms of being able to attract the cruise lines to stop here in Prince Rupert because they'll be able to save money by stopping here,” says Andrew Hamilton, a task force representative for the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

Hamilton says that to get cruise lines to add Prince Rupert as a regular stop will require improving the awareness of the city as a cruise destination, and making it more fun for passengers when they get here. He says that the task force has been focusing much of its efforts on the second one.

The task force said that ideas they put in place last year increased the “stickyness” of the Prince Rupert experience, which means that they were able to keep cruise passengers ashore much longer by the end of the season than they had when the season first started.

This year, the task force is going to focus on making sure there are as many activities as possible available to passengers as soon as they get off the ship in Cow Bay and getting as much business engagement as possible.

A big part of this is the ambassador program and other volunteers from the community who work as interpreters or street performers.

“One of the things we learned is that our people are what really sets us apart from other ports that cruise ships stop at,” says Treena Decker.

This year, the task force has attracted around 30 more volunteers over last year, and they are still looking for more. People looking to be ambassadors are being given “super host training” in order provide more consistent messaging to the tourists.

“All of our volunteers will participate in a session and will be able to have a certification at the end of it and provide that consistent, quality-controlled messaging that we'd like to make sure our guests are getting,” says Decker.

For people who want to be volunteers, Decker asks that they all her on her cell: 627-6710 or email her at princerupertvolunteers@gmail.com.

“We're looking for performers, we're looking for buskers, we're looking for volunteers, we're looking for everyone and anyone to participate this year,” says Decker.

The task force also wants local businesses to got on board as well by becoming a “cruise friendly business,” which involves staying open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm when the passengers have to be back on their ship and putting a sign in their window. Some businesses are also being included in the activity guide being given to passengers and giving discounts to cruise ship passengers.

“So how can the community contribute? Businesses, open your doors. Prince Rupert business should be open for everyone. Last year we saw a lot of local residents come down which added to the sense that this is a busy town and made sure people felt welcome,” says Jason Scherr of the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce.

The task force asked the City of Prince Rupert to help out by making sure the community makes a good impression by making sure all the public spaces look presentable on the cruise ship day, and to keep city hall open for tourists to come and see and have councillors available to engage with them.

They also asked for the City's continued assistance in marketing Prince Rupert more directly to the cruise industry as well, and applauded Mayor Jack Mussallem's work in this regard.

“May 4 is the best opportunity in this current year to tell the cruise industry that we are open for business, and that this community is ready to share our story,” says Scherr.

 

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