People making their way around Prince Rupert on Friday evening would have noticed that it was anything but business as usual in town.
Aside from the throngs of tourists who departed from the Norwegian Pearl walking around downtown and Cow Bay, a familiar site over the past several summers, there were also musicians performing at various places in the community, street performers plying their craft, spoken word artists and even Charles Hays standing beside his own statue. Parking in Cow Bay was also a little off as the Salmonberry Trading Company moved their market from the Courthouse lawn to the lot across from Atlin Terminal, which now includes an interpretive centre that features displays and exhibits of local ecology and First Nations Culture, to create a more concentrated area of cruise passenger attraction.
It is all part of a renewed effort spearheaded by the Prince Rupert Cruise Task Force to provide a memorable and positive passenger experience for those who walk around town as opposed to taking shore excursion.
“Looking through the feedback it was really positive in terms of the passengers’ impression of Prince Rupert, their time on shore and the shore excursion program even though some of it was not on line yet. In terms of engaging the independent guests, anecdotal feedback on the buskers and street performers was very positive and the market was also very well received,” said Andrew Hamilton, Director of Business Development for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, noting that there is more to come as the season progresses.
“A lot of the initiatives that have been worked on by the Cruise Task Force will really be ramping up in the first three weeks…By the third ship we’ll roll out a new cruise discovery guide that will also help with orientation and a guidebook to Prince Rupert. Tying into that, there will be interpretive stations with people telling the story of Prince Rupert.”
The task force includes representatives from the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Community Futures, business leaders and agencies such as Tourism Prince Rupert and the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation. VP of Marketing and Business Development Shaun Stevenson notes that the task force is a working group that will look to improve week to week and month to month, and that a working group is also looking ahead to 2012 and 2013.