Partnership aims to boost cruise ship tourism

By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 23, 2010, at 10:37 p.m.

CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, New Brunswick — By combining their interests and selling the Bay of Fundy as a major destination, Campobello Island and St. Andrews, New Brunswick, and Eastport, Maine, have teamed up to lure cruise ships to the area.

They have just joined CruiseMaineUSA, an active marketing consortium focusing on attracting cruise ships.

“Each city has its own strengths,” Vern McKimmey, marketing director for the Roosevelt Campobello International Park said this week. “But if we sold the bay together, we had more.”

As members of the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association, Saint Andrews and Campobello are already marketing themselves. Joining the CruiseMaineUSA consortium will further promote the area to the cruise lines, travel media, travel agents and consumers.

“The park is already a major attraction,” McKimmey said.

McKimmey said no cruise ships will be docking soon, but he expects them to arrive in the summer of 2012.

Meanwhile, border issues and setting up off-ship excursions will be worked on and developed.

“Friar’s Bay makes a wonderful anchoring place,” McKimmey said, but added that the bay’s extremely high tides could have a cruise ship in the U.S. move to Canadian waters, just with the tide change.

“Our proximity to our friends in Maine and the New England coast make us a natural part of itineraries sailing along the coast, as we could be to those visiting the rest of the Atlantic region,” Vaughn McIntyre, the cruise ship development officer for St. Andrews, said this week. “We are marketing the entire bay and our relation-ship with Campobello Park and Eastport, Maine, as one beautiful historical and environmental destination. The fact that we are working together on cross-border immigration clearances could be a great ‘value add’ to the overall appeal.”

McKimmey said that for any cruise ships headed south, their last stop would likely be Eastport. “That would be easy and ideal since customs officials are there all the time,” he said. Ships with fewer than 200 passengers could be cleared using a manifest, he said.

For ships headed north, a stop at Eastport could also be used to clear customs.

McKimmey said he is very excited to begin creating excursion packages for off-ship adventures, and said visits to Roosevelt International Park will be key.

He said a combination of advertising efforts and good weather has resulted in an approximate 24 percent increase in visitors at the park this year. Final visitor figures will not be available until the Roosevelt cottages at the park close on Oct. 11. The park’s nature areas and beaches remain open year-round.

Amy Powers, director of CruiseMaineUSA, said the partnership is a strategic extension of the marketing program that Eastport has been a part of since the consortium’s beginning.

“Partnering our easternmost deep draft port of Eastport with the two western Atlantic Canada resort communities of St. Andrews and Campobello Island will provide a range of cruise lines with a fresh and diverse destination for a variety of ship sizes — and most importantly in a perfect geographical location within the sailing region,” Powers said.

McIntyre said that creating the opportunities to bring cruise ships to the area will spread the prosperity throughout not only three communities, but to two countries, and will attempt to nurture cruise tourism, which plays a very large role in the tourism industry in Maine.

Powers said the cruise industry contributed more than $35 million to Maine’s economy in 2009.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/09/23/business/partnership-aims-to-boost-cruise-ship-tourism/ printed on December 24, 2014