17 Oct 2013

Nelson pushes for cruise ship visits

5:18 am on 17 October 2013

Tourism operators and retail outlets in Motueka, Kaiteriteri and Golden Bay are set to benefit from an increase in cruise ship visits to the top of the South Island.

The number of cruise ships booked to visit Nelson in the next two years has tripled and the region is pushing for more.

Port Nelson views the cruise market as a key revenue stream and tourism operators are backing the drive for increased ship visits.

Four cruise ships have been confirmed so far this year, including a three-day visit from the luxurious residential vessel The World.

Nelson Tasman Tourism international marketing manager Loren Heaphy says securing the ship has been a huge coup.

"We're currently targetting boutique, high-end ships, so their passengers tend to have a higher spend when they're on shore," she says.

"It also is the best way for us to get into the cruise market - if we can prove that we can look after the smaller ships really well, then the bigger ships will start to look at us as a possible cruise destination."

Passengers will be offered winery tours, kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park and eco-tours on Farewell Spit.

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston says they are after the longer lasting effects of such visits.

"It's not just the about the revenue from passengers on the day, it's the wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our region and encourage visitors to come back as leisure travellers to our region and spend multiple days here," she says.

Nelson Tasman Tourism and Port Nelson hope they will soon be able to rival Picton for cruise ship numbers.